Updated: Dec 7, 2022
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A March 2021 study entitled "Mixed Methods Study of the Potential Therapeutic Benefits from Medical Cannabis for Patients in Florida" that was published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine explored the perceptions of medical marijuana patients with respect to the "therapeutic benefits for self-reported medical conditions."
The research reported that its design was that of a "concurrent mixed methods study with adult medical marijuana patients" and that its data was collected using a web-based survey, with individual interviews conducted in person or via telephone. It recruited 196 medical cannabis patients to complete surveys and 13 to "participate in qualitative interviews in Florida."
"A wide swath of patients sought medical cannabis for the relief of chronic pain from various medical conditions and were able to reduce their use of prescription medications."
"The age of survey respondents ranged from 19 to 77 years old, with an average age of 47. There were more female respondents (69%) than male respondents (31%)," reported the study. Interestingly, 34 percent of the study participants "reported that they currently smoked tobacco cigarettes," reported the study's authors.
"Both the interview findings and survey results indicated a wide swath of patients sought medical cannabis for the relief of chronic pain from various medical conditions and were able to reduce their use of prescription medications. Clinical data have shown that cannabinoids provide analgesic effects which reduce the amount of opioids patients need for pain control since both classes of drugs work through similar pathways in the nervous system.
"Based on the survey results, patients reported that use of medical cannabis was associated with improved management of pain and nausea symptoms. The greatest benefits for patients in this study were increased mood, improved quality of life and decreased pain. This finding contrasts with the survey study by Crowell et al., which also reported increased mood, but also found increased overall condition and energy as the greatest perceived benefits.
"Reviews of controlled trials suggest that short-term, low dose administration of medical cannabis are effective to treat neuropathic pain related to cancer and other chronic conditions. However, a four-year cohort study in Australia with over 1,200 pain patients using prescription opioids reported that for most participants, cannabis use had no effect on their opioid use and actually led to greater pain severity.
"Reviews of controlled trials suggest that short-term, low dose administration of medical cannabis are effective to treat neuropathic pain related to cancer and other chronic conditions."
"Some patients who reported feeling symptoms return after tapering off use of medical cannabis might have also been experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms, but this was not reported by participants.
"Therefore, given the complex evidence, primary care providers need to better understand the pharmacology of the cannabis plant and dosing options. Doing so will enable them to monitor for positive health outcomes and toxicity associated with its use and make informed recommendations."
View the original study.
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