Scientists must push to end the reefer madness

Chronic pain is a growing problem in healthcare, as patients live longer.

Cancer care is a good example. As a pharmacologist and research scientist, I rarely meet cancer patients in a professional capacity. However, I recently met some suffering from sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer most common in children and teens.

During our conversation, I was made aware that some of them prefer to manage their pain by smoking marijuana or using cannabis preparations such as cream and oil, rather than taking prescription opioids. The anecdotal evidence for the medicinal benefit of these preparations is strong, but there is no scientific evidence for it from human or animal studies.” 

That is not through lack of will among researchers. A number of UK laboratories, mine included, have been trying to attract funding from governmental and charitable bodies to research the medicinal use of cannabis in cancer care. But we have had little success.

There are, I

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