Cannabis and cannabinoid drugs are widely used to treat disease or alleviate symptoms, but their efficacy for specific indications is not clear.
A systematic review of the benefits and adverse events (AEs) was conducted on trials of cannabinoids for the following indications: nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, appetite stimulation in HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity due to multiple sclerosis or paraplegia, depression, anxiety disorder, sleep disorder, psychosis, glaucoma, or Tourette syndrome.
The review concluded that
- There was moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity.
- There was low-quality evidence suggesting that cannabinoids were associated with improvements in nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, weight gain in HIV infection, sleep disorders, and Tourette syndrome.
- There was an increased risk of short-term AEs including dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, somnolence, euphoria, vomiting, disorientation, drowsiness, confusion, loss of balance, and hallucination.
Adapted from Whiting P et al. Cannabinoids for medical use: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA 313(24):2456-2473. Internet. Accessed on October 10, 2016.