Widespread use of cannabis as a drug and passage of legislation on its use should lead to an increase in the number of scientific publications on cannabis. The aim of this study was to compare trends in scientific publication for papers on medical cannabis, papers on cannabis in general, and all papers between the years 2000 and 2017. A search of PubMed and Web of Science was conducted. The overall number of scientific publications in PubMed increased 2.5-fold. In contrast, the number of publications on cannabis increased 4.5-fold and the number of publications on medical cannabis increased almost 9-fold. The number of publications on medical cannabis in Web of science increased even more (10-fold). The most significant number of publications was in the field of psychiatry. In the fields of neurology and cancer treatment there was a significant increase in the years 2011-2013. There was a rise in the number of publications on children and the elderly after 2013. The specific indications with the largest number of publications were HIV (261), chronic pain (179), multiple sclerosis (118), nausea and vomiting (102), and epilepsy (88). More than half of the publications on medical cannabis originated from the United States, followed by Canada. More than 66% of the publications were original studies. The spike in the number of scientific publications on medical cannabis since 2013 is encouraging. In light of this trend the authors expect an even greater increase in the number of publications in this area in coming years.
Keywords: indications for cannabis use; medical cannabis; medical marijuana; publications on cannabis; trends in publication.