Connect with us


Five new cannabis research studies – anxiety, ADHD, fibromyalgia, cancer and concussion in athletes

Catch up on some of the latest cannabis science



Photo: Girl With Red Hat/Unsplash

Recently-published research explores cannabis in the treatment of anxiety, ADHD and fibromyalgia, as well as its potential to reduce the impact of concussion in athletes and in palliative cancer care.

New research papers exploring the therapeutic potential of cannabis are being published at a rapid rate.

Here we look at five recent studies, investigating the treatment in conditions including anxiety, ADHD and fibromyalgia. 

Elsewhere, findings suggest cannabis may have neuroprotective properties for athletes suffering from concussions and in the US, researchers explore the effects of medicinal cannabis in cancer patients, following the passing of Ryan’s Law last year. 

Read on for more.

Cannabis associated with improvements in anxiety in real-world study

Data from the UK shows that the prescription of cannabis-based medicines was associated with ‘clinically significant’ improvements in patients with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

Questionnaires were completed by over 300 patients enrolled in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry during follow-up appointments three, six and nine months after starting treatment. These results were then compared to patients’ symptoms at baseline. 

According to the authors improvements in anxiety, sleep quality and quality of life were observed at each time point. 

“Prescription of CBMPs in those with GAD is associated with clinically significant improvements in anxiety with an acceptable safety profile in a real-world setting,” they conclude.

“Randomised trials are required as a next step to investigate the efficacy of CBMPs.”

Read more here 


Chronic cannabis use shows promise in athletes with concussions 

As cannabis use becomes increasingly common among athletes for recovery purposes, researchers examined whether chronic consumption would reduce or exacerbate the impact of acute subconcussive head impacts.

The study included 43 adult soccer players who had used cannabis at least once a week for the last six months. They found that after 20 soccer headings, induced by a controlled heading model, the degrees of impairment of ocular-motor function [which controls eye movements and the amount of light let into the eye] were less in the group who used cannabis, compared to the control group. 

They also looked at levels of S100B, a protein marker which in higher concentrations is associated with brain damage and neurodegenerative diseases. Levels of  S100B level significantly increased in the control group after heading, whereas no change was observed in the cannabis group. 

The authors conclude: “Our data suggest that chronic cannabis use may be associated with an enhancement of oculomotor functional resiliency and suppression of the neuroinflammatory response following 20 soccer headings.”

Read more on this study here 


THC linked to improvements in fibromyalgia symptoms

Researchers in Germany examined the efficacy of THC as a treatment in fibromyalgia patients who were receiving interdisciplinary multimodal pain therapy (IMPT).

In total 120 fibromyalgia in-patients were included in the study, of which just over half (51.7%) were treated with THC. Significant improvements in pain intensity, depression, and quality of life were seen in all patients, but these were ‘significantly greater’ in those given THC.

The dose of other drugs was also reduced, or discontinued entirely, more often in patients treated with THC. 

The authors say: “The results provide indications that THC can be considered as a medical alternative in addition to the substances previously recommended in various guidelines.”

Read more here


Review calls for more research on cannabis and ADHD

Cannabis is increasingly being used as a treatment for neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), despite the lack of clinical research.

Researchers carried out a systematic review of papers published over the last 10 years, in an attempt to understand the nature of the relationship between cannabis use and symptoms of ADHD.

According to the authors, the findings shed new light on the perceived effects of cannabis on specific symptoms and the potential moderating effects of cannabis on executive functioning deficits related to ADHD, which has been ‘largely ignored’ by previous research. 

However, they say: “The evidence to date is inconclusive regarding whether cannabis use has an addictive effect or interactions, whether beneficial or detrimental. The evidence base at this time is relatively small, so more study is needed.”

Read the full study here 


Nurses report positive effects in cancer patients 

In 2022, the US state of California recently introduced a bill known as Ryan’s Law, which permits terminally ill cancer patients to access medicinal cannabis treatment while in hospital.

Following the implementation of new policies allowing patients to continue the therapy, researchers explored how nurses responded, as well as their perception of how cannabis impacted patients’ symptoms. 

The majority felt comfortable implementing the law into their practice and said that medical cannabis had had a ‘positive impact’. Most felt that patients had ‘improved symptoms’ after using medicinal cannabis. Anxiety and insomnia were the most common symptoms which saw improvements, followed by pain, nausea and anorexia. 

Read more here 


Want more stories like this delivered direct to your inbox? Sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.

Home » Science » Five new cannabis research studies – anxiety, ADHD, fibromyalgia, cancer and concussion in athletes

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 titles, Cannabis Wealth 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 / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


Cannabis Health is a journalist-led news site. Any views expressed by interviewees or commentators do not reflect our own. All content on this site is intended for educational purposes, please seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about any of the issues raised.

Copyright © 2023 PP Intelligence Ltd.