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J Am Board Fam Med. 2011 Jul-Aug;24(4):452-62. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2011.04.100280.

Cannabis and its derivatives: review of medical use.

Author information

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston ON K7L 5E9, Canada. leungl@queensu.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Use of cannabis is often an under-reported activity in our society. Despite legal restriction, cannabis is often used to relieve chronic and neuropathic pain, and it carries psychotropic and physical adverse effects with a propensity for addiction. This article aims to update the current knowledge and evidence of using cannabis and its derivatives with a view to the sociolegal context and perspectives for future research.

METHODS:

Cannabis use can be traced back to ancient cultures and still continues in our present society despite legal curtailment. The active ingredient, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, accounts for both the physical and psychotropic effects of cannabis. Though clinical trials demonstrate benefits in alleviating chronic and neuropathic pain, there is also significant potential physical and psychotropic side-effects of cannabis. Recent laboratory data highlight synergistic interactions between cannabinoid and opioid receptors, with potential reduction of drug-seeking behavior and opiate sparing effects. Legal rulings also have changed in certain American states, which may lead to wider use of cannabis among eligible persons.

CONCLUSIONS:

Family physicians need to be cognizant of such changing landscapes with a practical knowledge on the pros and cons of medical marijuana, the legal implications of its use, and possible developments in the future.

PMID:
21737770
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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