Is it true that marijuana has medicinal properties?


Absolutely. For many seriously ill people, medical marijuana is the only medicine that relieves pain and suffering, or treats symptoms of their medical condition, without debilitating side effects.

Medical patients shopping at a cannabis dispensary.

Marijuana’s medicinal benefits are undeniable, now demonstrated by decades of studies published in highly respected medical journals.

For some people, marijuana can:

  • Alleviate symptoms of a wide range of debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, epilepsy, and Crohn’s Disease
  • Act as a safer and more effective alternative to narcotic painkillers
  • Treat severe pain
  • Reduce nausea induced by cancer chemotherapy
  • Stimulate appetite in AIDS patients
  • Reduce intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma
  • Reduce muscle spasticity in patients with neurological disorders
  • Help manage some mental health conditions, particularly PTSD

Although 28 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized medical marijuana, and there is a plethora of scientific research establishing its safety and efficacy, the federal government (by way of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse) is blocking the clinical trials necessary to turn the marijuana plant into an FDA-approved prescription drug.

Alternately, doctors may legally prescribe Marinol, an FDA-approved pill that contains 100 percent THC – but patients don’t find it as effective as marijuana because it lacks the other therapeutic compounds found in the plant.


What do you think?

People deserve accurate, non-judgmental information about marijuana and other drugs

In order to stay safe, we need to understand both the effects of drugs and the policies that surround them.

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Shelley's Story

Marijuana: The Facts

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) supports information and polices related to marijuana that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. Safety is our top priority, especially when it comes to young people.
This booklet provides brief answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions about marijuana. We hope it will help you better understand this plant and its effects.