The United States has witnessed enormous changes concerning the acceptance of medicinal and recreational cannabis use. Sixty-three percent of the US population has access to medicinal cannabis markets, which offer increasingly diverse and potent cannabis products. Considering the rapidly changing cultural, political, and legal landscape, the scientific literature does not adequately inform public policy, medical decision making, or harm reduction approaches. The goals of this paper are to (1) investigate the state of cannabis research on medical conditions commonly treated with cannabis, (2) review the barriers that have led to large gaps between cannabis use and available empirical data, and (3) suggest a path forward with new research designs to address these gaps. Thus, we aim to advance a more nuanced understanding of the barriers to cannabis research and suggest innovative research designs necessary for rapid development of a meaningful knowledge base.