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JAMA Patient Page
June 23/30, 2015

Medical Marijuana

JAMA. 2015;313(24):2508. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.6676

Twenty-three states and Washington, DC, allow the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions.

Medical marijuana laws differ widely from state to state. Marijuana is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat any medical condition. A drug must be carefully studied in many people before it can be approved by the FDA. There have not been enough large studies of marijuana to definitively show that it is a safe and effective drug.

But scientific study of the medical uses of marijuana is ongoing. So far, evidence suggests that marijuana may be an effective treatment for chronic pain, neuropathic (nerve) pain, and muscle spasms due to multiple sclerosis or paraplegia. In most states with medical marijuana laws, marijuana can be used to treat severe or chronic pain and severe or persistent muscle spasms.