New studies acknowledge even more of the potential benefits of cannabis use. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it! (Literally)
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that using medical marijuana leads to significant and sustained improvements in the quality of life for individuals with conditions such as chronic pain and insomnia. Conducted by researchers from the American Medical Association, the study utilized a retrospective case series analysis of 3,148 individuals in Australia who were prescribed medical cannabis for eligible conditions.
The study showcased how medical marijuana demonstrated positive effects across all eight well-being indicators that were assessed. Furthermore, it found that adverse side effects were uncommon and rarely serious. Participants in the study were asked to rate their wellness in various categories, including general health, bodily pain, physical functioning, physical role limitations, mental health, emotional role limitations, social functioning, and vitality. Over a period of 15 follow-ups conducted approximately every 45 days, individuals consuming cannabis reported average improvements ranging from 6.6 to 18.31 points on a 100-point scale, depending on the specific category.
The researchers, hailing from Swinburne University of Technology, University of Western Australia, and Austin Hospital, concluded that these findings suggest a positive association between medical cannabis treatment and improvements in health-related quality of life for patients with a diverse range of health conditions. Non-cancer chronic pain, cancer-related pain, insomnia, and anxiety were among the primary conditions for which marijuana was prescribed in this study.
The study acknowledges the growing popularity of cannabis as a medicinal treatment, stating, “The use of cannabis as a medicine is becoming increasingly prevalent.” It suggests that clinical evidence incorporating patient-reported outcomes could be valuable in establishing the safety and effectiveness of these treatments, given the wide range of conditions being addressed with medical cannabis and the availability of numerous products and forms of dosage.
Patients in the study utilized marijuana products with varying doses, consumption methods, and cannabinoid profiles, yet the researchers noted that the estimated treatment effects were remarkably similar.
However, the retrospective case series analysis conducted in the study has limitations due to the absence of a control group, which made reaching a conclusion about the findings to a broader population challenging.
In conclusion, the study suggests a positive correlation between medical cannabis treatment and improved quality of life among patients with a wide range of conditions. Nevertheless, it highlights the existing limitations in clinical evidence regarding the efficacy of cannabinoids, emphasizing the need for further high-quality trials to better understand their therapeutic potential.
As an increasing number of states and countries work towards reforming their cannabis laws, this latest study adds to the growing body of research supporting the therapeutic potential of marijuana.
For instance, a recent study conducted by the University of Colorado revealed that consistent marijuana use is associated with enhanced cognition and decreased pain in cancer patients and individuals undergoing chemotherapy.
An earlier study conducted by the AMA found that chronic pain patients who received medical cannabis for more than a month experienced significant reductions in prescribed opioids. The AMA published research last year linking state cannabis legalization to reduced opioid prescriptions for specific cancer patients. Multiple studies have also established a correlation between cannabis legalization, self-reported marijuana use, and decreased rates of opioid prescribing and overdose-related deaths.
Another recent study, utilizing data from the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, found that state-level marijuana legalization is connected to significant decreases in the prescribing of the opioid codeine. This further highlights the potential impact of cannabis legalization in addressing the opioid crisis.
As time passes, more evidence will emerge to demonstrate the benefits
of medicinal marijuana. Hopefully, the continuous presentation of scientific evidence regarding the benefits of marijuana will encourage cannabis legislation towards legalization in states where it remains illegal. It will take more studies like this to remove the stigma of cannabis in the medical field. The acceptance of cannabis in any sense has been a slow-moving subject, but we are definitely seeing movement in the right direction.