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Medical cannabis patients report ‘significant improvements’ in pain, PTSD and sleep disorders

Over 60% of patients found their conditions improved with medical cannabis

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More than half of medical cannabis patients reported improvements in their conditions

Patients with chronic pain, PTSD and sleep disorders found their conditions improved after starting medical cannabis treatment, says a new study.

More than half of medical cannabis patients reported improvements in their conditions after six weeks of treatment, according to a recently published Canadian paper.

The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, showed ‘significant improvements’ in pain, PTSD, and sleep disorders.

Researchers assessed the safety and efficacy of cannabis in more than 200 Canadian patients, legally prescribed cannabis-based products.

Participants’ age ranged from 19–79 years , with more than half over the age of 50.

They completed quality of life surveys before using medical cannabis and again, six-weeks after beginning treatment.

For the top four medical conditions (anxiety, PTSD, arthritis and other rheumatic disorders, and sleep disorders), over 60 percent of patients self-reported improvements in their conditions.

Researchers found that the medical cannabis treatment “significantly benefited” both quality of life and symptoms in patients with PTSD and chronic pain.

Of those who were seeking cannabis to treat sleep disorders, including restless leg syndrome, 93 percent reported improvements in their sleep, although there was no overall change in quality of life. 

Patients who stated anxiety or arthritis and other rheumatic disorders as their main medical condition reported improvements in their quality of life, but did not experience significant changes in their symptoms. 

The study’s authors concluded: “This real-world data shows that a large proportion of medical cannabis patients report moderate to substantial benefits from cannabis, both in terms of their overall condition and general well-being. 

“While these results are promising, cannabis treatment was not a remedy for all, as our findings show that medical cannabis did not lead to significant improvements in all conditions we examined.”

They added: “Our results show significant improvements in recurrent pain, PTSD, and sleep disorders…Our findings from patients who reported arthritis and other rheumatic disorders are complex. 

“We also report that patients who stated anxiety as their main medical condition did not experience significant changes in their anxiety after six weeks of cannabis treatment, though there were QOL improvements. These QOL improvements may show an alleviation of other underlying symptoms, leading to improved QOL, but not changes in anxiety specifically.”

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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