The IOM concluded that:
"Advances in cannabinoid science in the last 16 years have given
rise to a wealth of new opportunities for the development of medically
useful cannabinoid-based drugs. The accumulated data suggest a variety
of indications, primarily pain relief, antiemesis, and appetite
stimulation. For patients, such as those with AIDS or undergoing
chemotherapy, who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea,
and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might thus offer broad spectrum
relief not found in any other single medication.
Although marijuana smoke delivers THC and other cannabinoids
to the body, it also delivers harmful substances, including many
of those found in tobacco smoke.
The argument against the future
of smoked marijuana for treating any condition is not that there
is no reason to predict efficacy, but that there is risk. That risk
could be overcome by the development of a non-smoked, rapid-onset
delivery system for cannabinoid drugs."
They thus recommended:
"Clinical trials of cannabinoid drugs for symptom management
should be conducted with the goal of developing rapid-onset, reliable,
and safe delivery systems. Clinical trials of marijuana use for
medical purposes should be conducted under the following limited
circumstances: trials should be approved by institutional review
boards; involve only short-term marijuana use (less than 6 months);
be conducted in patients with conditions for which there is reasonable
expectation of efficacy; and collect data about efficacy."