Grounds for use

Data currently available shows that medicinal cannabis can help relieve:

  • Pain and muscle spasms/cramps associated with (MS) or spinal cord damage;
  • nausea, reduced appetite, weight loss and debilitation associated with cancer and AIDS;
  • nausea and vomiting caused by medication or radiotherapy for cancer and HIV/AIDS;
  • long-term neurogenic pain (i.e. originating in the nervous system) caused by, for example, nerve damage, phantom limb pain, facial neuralgia or chronic pain following an attack of shingles;
  • tics associated with Tourette Syndrome.

Clinical research

Very little of this data has resulted from major clinical research. However, the results of small-scale (but very promising) research bear out the effects this medication can have, as do the experiences of individual doctors and patients. A doctor will only prescribe medicinal cannabis if the standard treatments and registered medicines are not having the required effect or are causing too many side effects.

At present, medicinal cannabis cannot help cure the above conditions. It can, however, relieve the symptoms associated with them, and/or reduce the side effects of other medication. It is up to doctors to determine which conditions would benefit from treatment with medicinal cannabis, and the circumstances under which that would be right for the patient. In doing so they are not limited to the list of conditions given above.