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Neurol Clin Pract. 2015 Aug;5(4):344-351.

Clinical perspectives on medical marijuana (cannabis) for neurologic disorders.

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Barrow Neurological Institute (TDF), Phoenix, AZ; University of Arizona College of Medicine (TDF), Phoenix, AZ; John Carroll University (HM), Cleveland, OH; Four Peaks Neurology (CM), Scottsdale, AZ; American Academy of Neurology (KS), Minneapolis, MN; and University of Kansas (NH), Kansas City, KS.


The American Academy of Neurology published an evidence-based systematic review of randomized controlled trials using marijuana (Cannabis sativa) or cannabinoids in neurologic disorders. Several cannabinoids showed effectiveness or probable effectiveness for spasticity, central pain, and painful spasms in multiple sclerosis. The review justifies insurance coverage for dronabinol and nabilone for these indications. Many insurance companies already cover these medications for other indications. It is unlikely that the review will alter coverage for herbal marijuana. Currently, no payers cover the costs of herbal medical marijuana because it is illegal under federal law and in most states. Cannabinoid preparations currently available by prescription may have a role in other neurologic conditions, but quality scientific evidence is lacking at this time.

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