This has been a long known fact,
Some of this was known back in the '60s and '70s. But the federal government decided to suppress it. In particular: Any drug with side-effects that were pleasant was considered a threat to the status quo of governance - a way for productive people to achieve happiness without driving industrial profit and/or part of a Communist conspiracy to rot the "Free World"'s moral fiber.
There was a period where researchers would only get new grants if the conclusions of their studies stated that the drugs - psychedelics, marijhuana, etc. - were useless for medical purposes and/or dangerous. (The papers in Science, for instance, were often pathetically hilarious. The reduced data said one thing, while the conclusion said the opposite.)
Meanwhile the government (notably with such things as the FBI's COINTELPRO program) smeared those (formerly highly respected scientists) who had been proponents of finding uses for them (especially those who had tried to use them to augment intelligence and experimented on themselves - often with bizarre results). The most prominent of these was Timothy Leary, though there were a number of others.
Somewher in there the drugs were added to various "schedules" and banned from medical use.
After a couple years of this, with any actual benefits buried in the noise, the government declared that it was "settled science" that there were no useful treatments using these drugs and stopped issuing new permits for their use in new research projects. (It's very much like research into global warming: You can't convince people on either side because the research is suspect due to the government becoming involved and pushing its horse in the race.)
Then the government declared acts related to banned-drug trafficing, possession, and use to be "serious" crimes and imposed passed mandatory minimum sentences - recreating the scenario of alcohol prohibition, funding organized crime, filling up the prisons, and lining corrupt police personell's pockets with graft money. Then it passed RICO and created the same financial incentive structure that fueled the Spanish Inquisition - driving ever-increasing anti-drug activity and blocking attempts to repeal drug bans.
And that's where it stood for decades. Negligible work on uses for the chemicals - either by organized research or private self-medication (with drugs of uncertain content and quality).
So while Moore's Law drove the computes from giant cabnets filling floors of office buildings to chips in everything under the sun, work on a nimber of categories of drugs stagnated.
The canabinoids of Marijuana, alone, have a number of apparent (but not adequately researhed) benefits:
- They appear to be a specific treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (which, itself, seems to be a result of undermeidcation for pain - also driven by the "drug war").
- Canabinoids (including at least one which does not produce a substantial "high") also appear to be a successful treatment for a debilitating form of childhood epilepsy.
- Parkinson's disease eventually kills, not directly through loss of dopamine, but by the body's attempt to compensate for it by fouling up a system that uses the recently discovered endocanabinoids as neurotransmitters. (These are the chemicals that THC and its relatives mimic, much as opioids mimic endorphins.) This ends up with loss of memory and loss of appetite, and the victim starves herself to death. Canabinoids may help alleviate this and/or prolong life, (if only by reducing the tendency to self-starvation by inducing "the munchies").
- Canabinoids have been claimed to arrest the progress of several cancers, including a brain cancer.d
- Canabinoids have long been used for reducing the nausea of chemotherapy, easing self-starvation in cancer patients. (Similarly with side-effects of anti-AIDS drug coctails.)
I could go on.
But "more research is needed" to determine which (if any) of these effects are real, turn them into practical treatments, and deploy them. And it's not going to happen smoothly and rapidly with the government continuing to interfere.