It seems like every week scientists find another positive benefit of medical marijuana. Whether it's dealing with inflammatory diseases or dealing with migraines, it seems like there's almost nothing cannabis can't treat. Well, there's a new condition to add to that list: Chronic nerve pain.
According to a review commissioned by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, there is "low strength" evidence that medical marijuana can be used to treat chronic nerve pain. Earlier this year, the National Academy of Sciences released a report where they said there's substantial evidence that marijuana is effective at treating nerve pain, muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis and nausea caused by chemotherapy. That makes two major American institutions acknowledging important contributions marijuana can make to serious medical conditions.
Despite the report, the Department of Veteran Affairs says their doctors will still not prescribe marijuana to patients, but acknowledges that research indicates that it could be beneficial.
The Department also studied research on marijuana side effects and PTSD. They found that marijuana use posed several risks, such as car accidents and short-term cognitive impairment, but also noted that there isn't enough research on side effects to make a definitive judgement on the issue. Likewise, they found little evidence that marijuana could be used to treat PTSD, but they again acknowledged there's not enough research to make a conclusion.
So while this may not be the resounding success that medical marijuana advocates were hoping for, at the very least it shows that the Department of Veteran Affairs is interested in studying the topic and determining if it would be a useful option for soldiers. Baby steps!