The total number of peer-reviewed scientific papers dedicated to cannabis, and the therapeutic use of cannabis in particular, has increased exponentially in recent years, according to data published the journal Population Health Management.
Israeli researchers assessed trends in the number of scientific publications specific to cannabis as compared to all scientific publications during the years 2000 to 2017. They reported: “The overall annual number of scientific publications … increased 2.5 times between 2000–2017 from 531,664 to 1,282,229. In contrast, the corresponding number for publications on cannabis increased 4.5 times … and increased 9-fold for publications on medical cannabis.”
Overall, authors identified just over 29,000 cannabis-centric scientific papers published during the study period, with over 3,300 of those dedicated to the subject of medical marijuana. Papers specific to medical cannabis were most likely to address its use in the treatment of HIV, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea, or epilepsy.
Over 60 percent of the papers were classified as “original research,” and 66 percent of all scientific papers originated from authors in the United States.
Commenting on the findings, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “These results stand in stark contrast to the popular narrative that we lack adequate scientific understanding of cannabis and its effects. In fact, ample studies already exist to contradict cannabis’ federal, schedule I status as a substance without medical utility, lacking acceptable safety, and possessing a high potential of abuse.”
He added, “More clinical research is welcome, but unfortunately science has never driven marijuana policy. If it did, the United States would already have a very different policy in place.”
An abstract of the study, “Trends in publications in medical cannabis from the year 2000,” appears online here.