What is the Impact of Medical Cannabis on Quality of Life?

Article by Ricardo Oliveira, Lift News

What is the impact of medical cannabis on quality of life? Recent study evaluates whether medical cannabis use translates into substantive and persistent changes in subjective well-being over time

In 1996 the State of California enacted the Compassionate Use Act permitting the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Sixteen years later, two million Californians—nearly five percent of the population—were using cannabis for medical reasons.

California is not alone in this picture. Progressive cannabis decriminalization and legalization soon followed elsewhere. Simultaneous changes in cultural perceptions regarding cannabis, increased availability, reduced costs, and preliminary scientific findings are catalyzing an ever increasing demand for medical cannabis.

But despite all this, research on cannabis and derivatives for medical conditions has only yielded few and mixed results so far, which is why neither has been adopted as a first line agent for any medical condition.

Given the notable psychoactive properties of cannabis, it is possible that much of the anecdotal evidence emerging recently could be explained by placebo effects alone. Thus, according to Dr. Waguih IsHak and collaborators, it is vital that we evaluate whether medical cannabis use translates into substantive and persistent changes in subjective well-being over time.

To start answering this question, researchers from the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles reviewed all published cannabis and cannabinoids clinical trials where patients were asked about changes in general quality of life. The following information is summarized from the original report that was recently published in the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

  • Twenty clinical studies were selected for analysis. Of the six that focused on whole-plant treatments, three found improvements in mental aspects of quality of life among patients suffering from neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia and inflammatory bowel disease. The last two, however, were not randomized clinical trials, and one included a self-selected sample. All three studies suffered from small sample sizes (< 35).
  • The same study on patients with inflammatory bowel disease, and another with patients that were using cannabis for general symptom relief, noted improvements in physical quality of life as well. However, neither of these reached statistical significance.

Read full article here.

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