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September 10, 1997

'Decent Research and Closure' Needed on Medical Marijuana, Says Head of NIH Panel

JAMA. 1997;278(10):802. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550100024009

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SCIENTISTS INTERESTED in filling in the therapeutic blanks about medicinal marijuana hope a new nonpartisan report will expedite applications for federal funds and supplies of the drug.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released the report early last month. It was written by an independent, 9-member panel of experts who presided over a 2-day workshop on medical marijuana that the NIH sponsored last February in Bethesda, Md. The workshop was convened in response to ballot initiatives last year in which voters in California and Arizona approved marijuana for medicinal use.

In the report, the panel reiterated its support for further research to determine marijuana's therapeutic efficacy in 5 areas: appetite stimulation and cachexia; nausea and vomiting following anticancer therapy; neurologic and movement disorders; analgesia; and glaucoma.

"In order to evaluate various hypotheses concerning the potential utility of marijuana in various therapeutic areas, more and better studies would be needed," panel

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