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Medical cannabis improves quality of life in over 60s – study



A new US study has found that the use of medical cannabis improves the quality of life in those over the age of 60.

The study, carried out by researchers linked to the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa reported a “strong positive association” between subjects’ frequency of cannabis use and self-reported improvements in pain, health-care utilisation, and overall health-related quality of life.

Participants failed to report any statistically significant association between medical cannabis use and adverse events.

The data, which is published in the journal Clinical Gerontologist, was collected through surveying seniors around their use of medical cannabis and self-reported outcome changes over a one-year period.

Investigators concluded: “[We] identified a strong positive association between higher frequency of cannabis use and improvement to HRQL and HCU [health-care utilization] scores.

“Our regression modeling also identified a strong positive relationship between higher frequency of cannabis use and self-reported improvements to pain symptoms. The positive relationship between near-daily use and improved reports offers further evidence of the perceived value of medical cannabis as a therapeutic approach for pain management.”

Commenting on the study, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Paul Armentano said: “These results are hardly surprising. Many seniors likely experimented first-hand with cannabis during their youth and are now returning to it as a potential therapy to mitigate many of the health-related symptoms that come with older age, including chronic pain. Many seniors are well aware of the litany of serious adverse side-effects associated with available prescription drugs, like opioids, and they perceive medical cannabis to be a viable alternative.”

The study’s findings are similar to several others finding that medical cannabis use by seniors is relatively safe and effective at mitigating pain and improving self-reported quality of life.

Data published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in 2019 reports that rates of marijuana use are climbing among those ages 65 and older.

The abstract of the study, “Assessing health-related outcomes of medical cannabis use among older persons: Findings from Colorado and Illinois,” can be found here.


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