Statistics compiled by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) reveal that hundreds more research studies were published on marijuana last year than in previous years.
According to a keyword search of the National Library of Medicine/PubMed.gov website, findings revealed more than 4,200 cannabis studies were published worldwide in 2022, the highest number of marijuana-specific research ever published in a year.
PubMed, a free online searchable database for life sciences and biomedical literature, now cites over 42,500 scientific papers on cannabis.
Since 2010, researchers have published over 30,000 peer-reviewed papers on cannabis, with the annual number increasing yearly, according to NORML.
Most recent papers have focused on the plant's therapeutic potential. A 2018 report assessing trends in cannabis-related publications concluded that the number of peer-reviewed journals dedicated to medical cannabis had increased nine-fold since 2000. Compared to the 1980s, scientists published less than 2100 research publications.
Officials and medical entities have continually pushed for more scientific data before considering endorsing widespread access to marijuana, which has been shown to have the potential to treat a scope of ailments, from chronic pain to insomnia to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Commenting on the recent findings, NORML's deputy director, Paul Armentano, said: "It is time for officials and others to stop assessing marijuana through the viewpoint of 'what we don't know' and instead start engaging in evidence-based conversations about marijuana and marijuana reform policies indicative of all that we know.
Despite some claims that marijuana has yet to be subject to adequate scientific research, scientists' interest in studying marijuana has expanded exponentially in recent years, as has our comprehension of the plant, its active compounds, their means of deployment, and their impacts on both the user and upon society."
At the end of 2022, President Biden signed into effect The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, reducing the hurdles for researchers to analyze the therapeutic effects and potential of cannabis.
Following the passing of the historically new US legislation, industry leaders called for more governments to recognize the plant's potential by making it more straightforward for organizations to invest in research and development.
Many western countries are lagging behind countries such as Israel, Canada, and Australia, where governments eagerly fund medical cannabis research and randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which are widely seen as the gold standard of scientific research for ascertaining the efficacy and safety of a treatment.