The World Health Organization issues report on Cannabis and its medical use.
Summary and Conclusions
“It has been advanced that whole plant cannabis can be used for multiple therapeutic purposes. The evidence presented on potential medical uses and risks of cannabis in humans herein is focused on unprocessed, botanical cannabis and not isolated cannabinoids, some of which are medically approved. The medical benefits of cannabis continue to be debated globally, as they have been for nearly 150 years. Cannabis extracts were listed in the British, and later in the US Pharmacopeia for sedative and anti-convulsant effects, but were removed a century later, for similar reasons that fuel the current debate. The movement to revive cannabis as a medicine to alleviate pain, seizure disorders, enhance appetite, and relieve a myriad of other neurological or metabolic diseases, is driven by multiple factors. These include inadequacies in current medications to treat specific symptoms or diseases, along with self-reported benefits derived from cannabis.
With the discovery of the endocannabinoids and their receptors in the brain and other tissues, the rationale for, and research of medicinal effects of cannabis or isolated cannabinoids has entered a modern context. In brain, endocannabinoids and their receptors play a fundamental role in regulating pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, body movement, awareness of time, appetite, pain, sensory processing (taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight), and brain development. In peripheral tissuess, the widespread distribution of endocannabinoid signaling systems conceivably account for the myriad effects and therapeutic potential of cannabinoids. Especially for psychoactive drugs such as cannabis, rigorous criteria for its approval as a safe and effective medicine need to be fulfilled, along with a meticulous cost benefit analysis to weigh its therapeutic potential alongside it detrimental effects to individuals and to society.”
The full report can be found here: http://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/6_2_cannabis_update.pdf