This story was first published on the 1st February 2018 for Pomegranate Health, a podcast of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Subscribe to the series on iTunes Store or Android.

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Cannabis is a plant rich with potential therapeutic compounds and centuries of cultural resonance. However, only a few of the claimed medical effects of the plant have been proven by rigorous clinical trials in people. These include spasticity and pain in multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and some cases of epilepsy. But for many other conditions, systematic reviews have concluded that meaningful clinical recommendations cannot be made. In this episode, experts from oncology, palliative care, neurology, pain medicine and clinical pharmacology explain how important it is to separate the effect of various cannabinoids in a systematic way, and why well-regulated research and prescribing will be safer for patients.

Guests: A/Prof Peter Grimison FRACP (Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, University of Sydney), Prof Meera Agar FRACP (UTS, USNW, IMPACCT), A/Prof Carolyn Arnold FRACP (Monash University, Alfred Health), Prof Samuel Berkovic AC FRACP (Epilepsy Research Centre, University of Melbourne), Prof Jennifer Martin FRACP (Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Research Excellence, University of Newcastle, John Hunter Hospital).

Written and produced by Mic Cavazzini. Additional audio recording from James Milson. Music courtesy of Blue Dot Sessions (“Cloud Line”), 4T Thieves (“New Times”), Mystery Mammal (“Asylum”) and Kromatic (“Club Crunk for Monkeys”). Image courtesy of iStock. Executive producer Anne Fredrickson.