Devil’s weed or miracle drug? This medical textbook sets all that straight

A hemp flower is trimmed by an cannabis farm worker in Uruguay. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

Is marijuana the devil’s weed or a miracle drug?

Well, a couple of doctors with huge credentials — namely Harvard and New York University to name a few — have just published a new book that describes the science of marijuana, including the risks and benefits of cannabis-based medicines.

Described as an unbiased and clear-eyed look at the science of cannabis and cannabinoids, Medical Marijuana: A Clinical Handbook, takes an evidence-based approach to medical marijuana.

The authors, physicians Samoon Ahmad and Kevin P. Hill, have an impressive career track record. Ahmad is a professor at the NYU school of medicine and works at New York’s Bellvue hospital Centre. His practices focus on treating patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, stuttering and weight management issues.

Hill is an addiction psychiatrist and Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Here’re some words from the book’s opening statements:

“It is our hope that we can eliminate unwarranted stigmas that continue to hound this quirky plant and to dispel any notions that cannabis is either a miracle drug or the devil’s weed. If nothing else, we hope to provide our peers in the medical community with some degree of clarity so that they can make decisions based on the best available evidence and pass on accurate information to patients.”

This wide-ranging treatise focuses on everything from cancer to skin care to eye issues, gynecology and more.

The authors also describe the dangers of excessive cannabis use, cannabis use disorder, and potential adverse effects.

“Patients will continue to turn to medical cannabis,” Dr. Hill writes in his prologue. “We want to educate health care professionals so that they are in a better position to help patients when this happens.”

Medical Marijuana: A Clinical Handbook is published by Wolters Kluwer and sells for $69.99 US.