Has marijuana been shown to be an effective medicine for any one of these medical conditions: pain, glaucoma, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, or multiple sclerosis?
For purposes of this question:
"effective" means that marijuana works as well as or better than available alternatives and with comparable or fewer negative side effects; or it works nearly as well as available alternatives, but with fewer negative side effects; or it can successfully treat a condition for which there are no alternative treatments.
"marijuana" means any unpurified parts of cannabis plants (as opposed to purified extracts such as THC).
Following are some examples of claims that marijuana can be used to effectively treat a variety of serious medical conditions:
There is a subpopulation of people suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), chronic pain and other debilitating illnesses for whom existing medications are ineffective or cause dangerous side effects. For many of these patients, medical marijuana can provide a superior treatment alternative.
-- Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance
The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS -- or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.
-- Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General
Supporters of medical cannabis argue that cannabis does have several well-documented beneficial effects. Among these are: the amelioration of nausea and vomiting, stimulation of hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowered intraocular eye pressure (shown to be effective for treating glaucoma), as well as gastrointestinal illness. Its effectiveness as an analgesic has been suggested—and disputed—as well.
-- Wikipedia article on Medical Marijuana