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Ideas and Opinions |

Medicinal Applications of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Marijuana

Eric A. Voth, MD; and Richard H. Schwartz, MD
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From the International Drug Strategy Institute, Topeka, Kansas; University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kansas; and Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, Virginia. Acknowledgments: The authors thank the professional review committee of the International Drug Strategy Institute for review and helpful input and Lenora Kinsey for assistance with the literature search. Requests for Reprints: Eric A. Voth, MD, The International Drug Strategy Institute, 901 Garfield, Topeka, KS 66606. Current Author Addresses: Dr. Voth: The International Drug Strategy Institute, 901 Garfield, Topeka, KS 66606.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1997;126(10):791-798. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-126-10-199705150-00008
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The use of crude marijuana for herbal medicinal applications is now being widely discussed in both the medical and lay literature.Ballot initiatives in California and Arizona have recently made crude marijuana accessible to patients under certain circumstances. As medicinal applications of pure forms of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and crude marijuana are being considered, the most promising uses of any form of THC are to counteract the nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and to stimulate appetite.

We evaluated the relevant research published between 1975 and 1996 on the medical applications, physical complications, and legal precedents for the use of pure THC or crude marijuana.Our review focused on the medical use of THC derivatives for nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy, glaucoma, stimulation of appetite, and spinal cord spasticity. Despite the toxicity of THC delivered in any form, evidence supports the selective use of pure THC preparations to treat nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and to stimulate appetite. The evidence does not support the reclassification of crude marijuana as a prescribable medicine.

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