Research: Marijuana can treat chronic pain

SB 847, passed by the Legislature in 1999, was supported by former state Attorney General Dan Lungren and a coalition of state public safety and health organizations, according to Mark Leno's office.

February 17, 2010 5:34:17 PM PST
A program commissioned more than a decade ago by the state Legislature to look into the therapeutic value of medicinal marijuana is expected to release a report on its findings today, a spokeswoman for state Sen. Mark Leno said.

A UC medical marijuana research panel today released the results of a ten year clinical study and according to its report, pot can effectively treat chronic pain.

Volunteers with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries were randomly treated with marijuana or a placebo. Patients given cannabis reported fewer multiple sclerosis muscle spasms, and less spinal injury pain.

In another study, the panel found that pot effectively also treats migraines.

But researchers used marijuana grown by the federal government, not the kinds available to California medical marijuana users.

Medical marijuana has been legal under California law since voters approved Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, in 1996.

The state Legislature clarified in 2004 that the Compassionate Use Act allows qualified patients and their primary caregivers to cultivate marijuana for medicinal use.

Medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law, though, leaving patients and providers open to prosecution in federal court.

Bay City News contributed to this story.