The Current State of Cannabis Research in the United States

The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is becoming more and more popular in the United States. As more states approve legislation to allow for the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana, researchers are exploring the therapeutic potential of various cannabinoids.

However, conducting clinical research on cannabis in the United States is difficult because of its status as a Schedule I drug.

In this article, we will explore cannabis research in the U.S. and discuss the current challenges researchers face.

The Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabinoids

Recently, cannabis has been shown to potentially treat a variety of conditions in both human and animal studies, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle spasms and spasticity
  • Seizures associated with epilepsy

While the majority of research on the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids has been conducted on animals, the findings from these studies are hopeful. They often suggest that cannabinoids could be effective in treating a variety of conditions in humans.

Without easy access to human subjects, though, the clinical research on cannabis remains limited.

Cannabis for Modulating Disease

Recent research has begun exploring the potential role of cannabinoids in modulating disease. This is a massive breakthrough as it suggests that cannabinoids could be used not only to treat symptoms but also to target the underlying causes of illness.

For example, a growing body of evidence suggests that cannabinoids may help to reduce inflammation, a primary factor in many chronic diseases.

Cannabinoids have also been shown to possibly promote cell death in cancer cells and inhibit the growth of new blood vessels, a critical process in cancer development.

While the findings from these studies are preliminary, they suggest that cannabinoids could be used to develop new treatments for various chronic diseases.

One area of interest is the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for treating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.

The Challenges Researchers Face

Despite the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids, conducting clinical research on cannabis in the United States is difficult because of its status as a Schedule I drug.

This classification means the federal government believes cannabis has a high potential for abuse and is not currently accepted for medical use. As a result, researchers face many challenges when trying to study the potential benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids.

However, this may soon change. With regulations loosening around hemp and CBD, and an increasing number of states approving the use of medical marijuana, clinical cannabis research will likely increase.


The current state of cannabis research in the United States is limited but promising. While cannabinoids have shown therapeutic potential in various conditions, more clinical research is needed to explore the full therapeutic potential of these compounds.

With so many promising findings, it is likely that clinical research on cannabis will increase in the United States in the coming years. This will be of great value to patients suffering from chronic conditions who could potentially find relief with cannabinoid-based treatments.