Promise and perils of marijuana deserve more scientific scrutiny | Science News

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Promise and perils of marijuana deserve more scientific scrutiny

Limits on ability to study drug hamper efforts to weigh public health benefits, concerns

By
3:02pm, January 12, 2017
marijuana

HIGH HOPES  Cannabis plants such as this one yield marijuana and other substances that deserve expanded study for possible medical benefits, a large research review recommends. But negative physical and psychological effects of cannabis products can’t be ignored, the report says.

Marijuana’s medical promise deserves closer, better-funded scientific scrutiny, a new state-of-the-science report concludes.

The report, released January 12 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, D.C., calls for expanding research on potential medical applications of cannabis and its products, including marijuana and chemical components called cannabinoids.

Big gaps in knowledge remain about health effects of cannabis use, for good or ill. Efforts to study these effects are hampered by federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule 1 status makes it difficult for researchers to access cannabis. The new report recommends reclassifying the substance to make it easier to study.

Recommendations from the 16-member committee that

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