Cannabis compounds are also known to have numerous medicinal properties. Tens of thousands of these studies have been conducted and numerous articles on the suitability of cannabis for the treatment of various diseases have been published in international scientific journals in recent years.
An extensive report published in 2017 by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences is the most comprehensive source to date. According to this report, there is strong evidence of the benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids in the treatment of the following ailments.
- Chronic Pain – By far the most common reason for using cannabis is pain management. Many clinical studies have shown cannabis to be an effective analgesic, and there is strong evidence for the benefits of cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic pain.
- In the treatment of spasticity caused by MS – Muscle stiffness – Cannabis is known to help with many of the symptoms of MS. It is an effective pain reliever and in addition it is known to alleviate spasticity.
- In the treatment of chemotherapy-related nausea – There is clear evidence that oral cannabinoids are effective antiemetics. In the United States, the use of synthetic cannabinoid preparations in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea has been approved since 1985.
In addition, there is strong evidence for the benefits of cannabidiol in the treatment of severe epileptic seizures. Both the European Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved the use of CBD in the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes in two serious childhood epilepsies.
In addition to these, in the light of current research data, cannabis appears to be a promising drug, e.g. in the treatment of the following ailments:
- Treatment of anorexia and weight loss in HIV / AIDS patients
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sleep disorders
In order to better understand the medicinal properties (and potential risks) of cannabis, there would be a need for extensive clinical trials. However, the illegality and classification of cannabis in international agreements has made research almost impossible in many countries.
Several proposals to change the classifications have been made as scientific understanding has increased. Currently, more than 60 major health organizations support the immediate dispensing of drug cannabis to patients under medical supervision and support the facilitation of large-scale research.
In Finland, the medical use of cannabis preparations is possible on the basis of an assessment made by a treating doctor under a special permit procedure. However, few Finnish doctors are willing to write prescriptions for these to their patients.
Although the European Parliament has taken a positive stance in favor of medicinal cannabis, the Finnish line is second and the authorities have only recently tightened their approach to cannabis preparations as medicinal products.
The number of doctors prescribing cannabis has shrunk to non-existent since Kela sent a letter to prescribers in 2018 stating that cannabis was not suitable for any pain condition and threatening the Social and Health Licensing and Control Agency Valvira to intervene.