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2024 Editorial: Cannabis—Snake Oil or Therapeutic?

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Cannabis—Snake Oil or Therapeutic?

A 2024 editorial article entitled "Cannabis as a Therapeutic or Snake Oil? A Desperate Call for Critical Appraisal of the Literature" that was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Anesthesia & Analgesia explored the legitimacy of cannabis as medicine, asking the challenging and highly controversial question: Is cannabis as medicine a sham?

A historic photo of a man selling snake oil.
Pot: Snake oil or medicine?

"What one will quickly appreciate is that while the basic science of cannabis is rich, it does not often and reliably translate to important clinical outcomes in humans, and understanding how cannabis data are presented is often key to this misalignment," reported the editorial, authored by two doctors.


"What one will quickly appreciate is that while the basic science of cannabis is rich, it does not often and reliably translate to important clinical outcomes in humans."

Accelerating at a Remarkable Pace

Cannabis—Snake Oil or Therapeutic? The editorial reported that, globally, the recreational (adult-use) and medicinal use of marijuana "is accelerating at a remarkable pace." It noted that, in the U.S., cannabis has achieved a reputation for helping a variety of disease states, including cancer and pain, "without the scientific rigor or regulatory oversight required for other traditional therapeutics."


The editorial estimated that by 2030, the cannabinoid market would be valued at $100 billion. "As the push for legalization at home and abroad grows, it is important for the anesthesiologist to understand the implications of increasing cannabinoids, THC, or CBD levels in the body, and their potential (or lack of)


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