New insights into the medical use of cannabis

Marijuana leaf and stethoscope

Photo by amedeoemaja/AdobeStock

What is the issue?

Cannabis and preparations derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant have been used for their medical properties for centuries. International surveys show that many people currently use cannabis and other cannabinoids for various medical indications, including pain, epilepsy and anxiety.

There is scientific evidence concerning the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis for certain conditions, however large-scale clinical trials testing cannabinoids for medical use remain limited, although this is rapidly changing. The medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids is allowed by most European Union countries, yet the specific approaches taken are very diverse, both in terms of products made available and the frameworks for supply.

Furthermore, recent international developments have brought additional scientific and policy attention to the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids. For example, the European Parliament has called for additional research into the use of cannabis for medical use, and the European Medicines Agency has granted a positive opinion to a plant-derived cannabidiol, which has now been approved for marketing by the European Commission.

How are we helping?

RAND Europe researchers are examining the latest developments and available evidence concerning the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids for the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

Our research will help provide new insight and aid greater understanding of this complex issue. Specifically, we will conduct a rapid assessment of systematic reviews published between 2018 and 2022, exploring the effectiveness and safety of cannabis and cannabinoids for medical use. This research will be of use to policymakers in the field of public health and healthcare professionals.