A variety of medical marijuana is displayed at Clinical Relief in Ferndale in June. Detroit Free Press.
(USA TODAY) - A new University of Arizona study shows little or no evidence that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for anxiety, migraines, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, a finding that could hinder efforts to expand the allowable uses for the drug in the state, The Arizona Republic reports.
The researchers, working on behalf of the state Department of Health Services that oversees the state's medical-marijuana program, reviewed dozens of scientific studies related to marijuana use for the four medical conditions and determined that most of the research was of little value in weighing the medicinal risks and benefits.
Arizona health officials and medical-marijuana advocates agree the lack of scientific research is in large part because of restrictions on research of some controlled substances, the newspaper reports.
The study could affect efforts by medical-marijuana supporters to expand the state's program to include the treatment of anxiety, migraines, depression and PTSD.
"The key question for us is: Do the benefits outweigh the risks?" says Will Humble, state health director. "And there's just not that much research in this area to help form our policy decisions."
Humble will decide this month whether to expand the list of conditions eligible for medical-marijuana therapy. He has also listened to personal testimony and reviewed documents submitted by people who want to expand the medical-marijuana program.
More than 31,000 Arizonans currently participate in the medical-marijuana program, citing conditions ranging from chronic pain to cancer and hepatitis C, according to the newspaper. Humble said the program would expand by as many as 15,000 if post-traumatic stress alone was added as a qualifying condition.