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There is a difference between anecdotal evidence and scientific proof, and the subject of medical marijuana research is filled with more of the former than the latter—in part because marijuana is notoriously hard to study because it’s classified as a program-1 drug.

Scientists led by Penny Whiting from University Hospitals Bristol in the U.K report in JAMA that there’s just average-quality evidence supporting the advantages of medical marijuana, and just for specific illnesses. Most studies including medical marijuana are of lesser quality and for that reason prone to be biased and provide results that are unreliable.

In all, her co-workers and Whiting examined 79 randomized trials, the gold standard in medical research where volunteers are randomly assigned to have a cannabis-associated product or a placebo. The studies assessed the power of marijuana to alleviate a variety of symptoms including nausea from loss of hunger among HIV positive patients, chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis spasms, depression, stress, sleep disorders, psychosis and Tourette syndrome. Most of the studies revealed progress among the participants taking the cannabinoid products over those using placebo, but in many, the scientists declared they couldn’t be sure since the organization wasn’t statistically significant, that the effect was not merely due to chance.

MORE:The Great Marijuana Experiment
The most powerful trials supported medical marijuana skill to ease persistent pain, while the least trustworthy signs entailed matters like vomiting and nausea from chemotherapy, sleep mental disorders and Tourette syndrome. Cannabinoids were, nevertheless, linked to more adverse events including vomiting, nausea, dizziness, disorientation and hallucinations than placebo.