Medicinal cannabis results in less pain, a better perception of health and fewer hospital visits, new research suggests.
More than 1,200 adults in the US with conditions including epilepsy, MS, chronic pain, anxiety and depression reported on their health and daily cannabis use between 2016 and 2018.
The participants used a variety of cannabis products, but CBD products were used more frequently than THC products.
Researchers compared their results with a group of adults who were considering using medicinal cannabis themselves or for a dependent person in their care.
They found that those who used medical cannabis reported better quality of life and improved health, and reported less pain, better quality of sleep and lower levels of anxiety and depression.
They were also less likely to visit the emergency department at hospital.
The researchers also tracked each participants’ reports individually to see how any changes in their medical cannabis consumption affected their health outcomes.
They found that participants reported improved health when they were consuming medical cannabis, and worse symptoms when they stopped.
However, participants who already used cannabis were likely to be biased because they had already observed the benefits of using it on their health, and the control group, who were considering medical cannabis, will have had some belief that medical cannabis could help them, too.
More than half of US states have legalised medical cannabis, however, only 27 per cent of participants reported that a doctor explicitly recommended it to them, which the researchers state is “concerning” in their paper, published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
This study, the researchers argue, does not provide evidence than cannabis is an effective form of therapy, but it does indicate that more research is needed in order to find out.