An LA Times medical reporter interviewed a group of doctors that were researching the benefits of medical marijuana. The issue of whether marijuana has any medical benefits is all determined on whom you ask–should marijuana be labeled with the dangerous drugs like PCP and heroin, or is it a miracle herb that has an abundance of uses and is being suppressed by the government–perhaps its something in between: an herb with tremendous medical benefits yet with drawbacks, worth looking into.

As the political debate continues, a small group of scientist continue to test the effects of inhaled marijuana for treatment of nausea, muscle spasms, and pain.

Doctors have long understood that all drugs come attached with risk–in most American homes the medicine cabinets are stuffed with aspirin, antihistamines, and pain killers. What Doctors try to do is balance out the risk versus the benefits of what the medicine can do–some argue this should be the same approach when it comes to looking at marijuana.

The truth, say researchers, is that marijuana has medical benefits that assist with those living with cancer pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea associated with chemo therapy, and chronic pain syndromes. Research has shown that the risks associated with marijuana are real but generally small. Newer medical discoveries of the medicinal benefits of marijuana have been since hindered the research team says.

Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of hematology and oncology at San Francisco General Hospital and professor of clinical medicine at UC San Francisco, says he sees cancer patients in pain, not eating or sleeping well, experiencing nausea and vomiting from treatment, and being depressed about their situation.

He notes that he finds joy that he resides in California where the use of medical marijuana is permitted by state law, even though federal enforcement continually raiding cannabis shops in the state and also scrutinize physicians who accept cannabis as a form of treatment for the patient.

“I can talk to patients about medicinal cannabis [and] I’m often recommending it to them for these indications,” Abrams says.

The medical use of marijuana has gone on for thousands of years. In the days before the bible, the plant was used as a medicinal tea in China, and in India it was used as a stress formula and pain reliever–All throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Africa marijuana was use for earaches, childbirth, and many other remedies.

In the past 10 years there have been studies to test the effects of marijuana on people with HIV, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and spinal chord injuries.