A study reveals that medical cannabis enhances the overall quality of life.

A study reveals that medical cannabis enhances the overall quality of life.

A large Australian study found that medical cannabis significantly improves quality of life, fatigue, pain, anxiety, and depression in people with a chronic disease.

Researchers analyze the results over 12 months to see if the effects persist over the long term. Living with a chronic illness can significantly reduce quality of life by altering physical, mental, and social functions.

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The Quality of Life Evaluation Study (QUEST) is one of the world’s largest longitudinal studies of the effect of medical cannabis on the overall health-related quality of life of patients with chronic diseases.
The Australian study, led by the University of Sydney, was supported by Little Green Pharma, which provided the medical cannabis, and the Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF), a private, not-for-profit health insurer. The researchers report quarterly interim results from the study.

The study included 2,327 participants aged 18 to 97 years. Before starting treatment with medical cannabis, participants completed questionnaires about their health status in terms of anxiety, fatigue, sleep, stress, and more. The questionnaires were repeated every two weeks after the start of treatment and then every one to two months thereafter for up to one year.

Impact on health.

Half of the participants (53%) were prescribed medical cannabis for more than one health condition, while the majority (68.7%) were treated for chronic pain. Other common conditions included insomnia (22.9%), anxiety (21.5%), and mixed anxiety and depression (11%). Participants were prescribed a mixture of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in varying doses, dissolved in a carrier oil.

Results from the first three months of treatment found “very strong evidence of clinically significant improvements” in health-related quality of life and fatigue. “Clinically significant improvement” refers to findings that have a significant and important impact on an individual’s health and/or well-being.

For participants with chronic pain, pain scores improved significantly over time. Those with anxiety or a combination of anxiety and depression also showed clinically significant improvement, moving from moderate to severe anxiety to mild anxiety on average. Similarly, participants with depression (including mixed depression and anxiety, recurrent major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder) moved from major depression to moderate depression on average. Interestingly, despite the improvement in fatigue, no statistically or clinically significant improvement in sleep outcomes was observed.

Promising results.

“The QUEST results show that medical cannabis produces statistically and, more importantly, clinically significant improvements in patients’ pain levels, fatigue, and quality of life,” said Jamie Rickcord, an independent family physician who participated in the study. “Physicians can feel confident in offering medical cannabis as an option to those who qualify, as a result of the emerging real-world data provided by initiatives such as QUEST.” Although adverse effects were not measured as part of the study, it is noted that 30 participants withdrew due to “unwanted side effects.”

The researchers are now analyzing the results over XNUMX months to see if the improvements persist over the long term. More research is needed to understand the full effects of medical cannabis for the treatment of sleep-related conditions, including analysis of formulations, doses, and routes of administration.

The published article notes that while the University of Sydney received funding from Little Green Pharma to conduct this study, Little Green Pharma had no role in the study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation, or report writing. The study was conducted by an independent investigator and all authors take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Source: newatlas.com (EN)

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