SEP 18, 2023 4:05 AM PDT

Health-related Quality of Life Improvements Tied to Cannabis Use

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A follow-up study of Australian patients who use prescribed medical cannabis to manage chronic health symptoms showed significant improvements in overall health-related quality of life. The study published in the journal PLOS ONE also reported patients demonstrated less fatigue, anxiety, depression, and pain in the first three months of use. 

The authors analyzed survey responses from 2,327 Australian patients with chronic health issues prescribed medical cannabis. Participants completed the surveys between November 2020 and December 2021 about the effects of consuming a tincture composed of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) infused into a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) carrier oil. Patients answered questions about health-related quality of life, pain, sleep, anxiety, and depression at distinct points. The participants completed the first survey before beginning cannabis therapy, and the second survey took place after two weeks of treatment. The participants then submitted survey responses once a month for three months.

63% of the participants were female. They ranged in age from 18-97 years, with an average age of 51. 69% identified chronic pain as the primary symptom for seeking treatment. Insomnia (23 percent), anxiety (22 percent), and anxiety/depression (11 percent) were other main symptoms. Patient-reported outcomes indicated clinically meaningful improvements in health-related quality of life and fatigue measurements across the three months. Patients also experienced clinically meaningful reductions in pain. Participants claimed that they had significant improvements in moderate-severe anxiety and depression. 

Many participants who took medical cannabis for insomnia reported no improvements in patient-reported sleep disturbance.

The findings suggest that medical cannabis may have therapeutic potential to manage previously untreatable chronic conditions. The researchers called for more research about medical cannabis products to treat patients with insomnia and sleep disorders as Australian cannabis policy reform loosens restrictions on cannabis research. 

Sources: Eureka News Alert, PLOS ONE


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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