Marijuana as Medicine? Book Seeks the Science Beyond the Controversy

The Institute of Medicine produced a book, Marijuana as Medicine? The Science Beyond the Controversy, based on a March 1999 National Academy of Sciences /Institute of Medicine report, Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base.

The National Academy Press published the book and released it on December 15, 2000. The book can be ordered through the National Academy Press website.

Key Results

The book, which was written by freelance writer Alison Mack and Janet E. Joy, a senior program officer at the Institute who had served as the study director and co-author for the 1999 Academy/Institute report, addresses the following topics:

  • The medical benefits of marijuana (alleviating symptoms such as nausea, pain, and movement disorders).

  • The physical and psychological side effects of use (including effects on immune, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems as well as mood, cognitive performance, motivation, and psychiatric disorders).

  • A disease-by-disease survey of the efficacy of marijuana (including its uses in AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, spinal cord injury, and glaucoma).

  • The development of pharmaceuticals from marijuana (such as FDA-approved Marinol, which is THC—tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive substance in marijuana—in capsule form).

  • The legal complexities involved with use and sanction.