In order to assess the current knowledge on the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids, a meta-analysis was performed through Medline and PubMed up to July 1, 2005. The key words used were cannabis, marijuana, marihuana, hashish, hashich, haschich, cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, dronabinol, nabilone, levonantradol, randomised, randomized, double-blind, simple blind, placebo-controlled, and human. The research also included the reports and reviews published in English, French and Spanish. For the final selection, only properly controlled clinical trials were retained, thus open-label studies were excluded. Seventy-two controlled studies evaluating the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids were identified. For each clinical trial, the country where the project was held, the number of patients assessed, the type of study and comparisons done, the products and the dosages used, their efficacy and their adverse effects are described. Cannabinoids present an interesting therapeutic potential as antiemetics, appetite stimulants in debilitating diseases (cancer and AIDS), analgesics, and in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Tourette's syndrome, epilepsy and glaucoma.