New research suggests cannabis may go some way to reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, while other studies shed light on its potential in fibromyalgia, autism and skin disorders.
Meanwhile, a review suggests cannabis consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and a US survey highlights the prevalence of use among cancer patients.
We take a closer look.
Cannabis reduces severity of fibromyalgia symptoms
In a new study, researchers conducted a retrospective review of patients seeking medicinal cannabis treatment for fibromyalgia between January 2017- July 2021. Data was collected using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) scores, and self-reported illness severity.
According to their findings, a clinically significant reduction in severity was observed in three quarters 75% of patients, as well as reductions in PHQ-9 (27%) and GAD-7 scores (22%).
The authors conclude: “These data show that medical cannabis may play an important role in the management of fibromyalgia and associated symptoms of depression and anxiety.”
Cannabis improves quality of life in autistic patients – and their families
A new study explored the impact of full-spectrum cannabis extracts in 20 patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Most patients were treated for a minimum of six months, with doses and THC/CBD levels adjusted depending on results. The researchers used a novel online patient- or caregiver-reported outcome survey to collect information on core and co-morbid symptoms and quality of life.
Their retrospective analysis found that 18 out of 20 patients showed improvement in their symptoms, as well as an improved quality of life for patients and their families.
Side effects were mild and infrequent and in most cases, other medications were able to be reduced or discontinued entirely, the researchers say.
Cannabis may reduce risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
A new study has suggested that cannabis may have a protective effect against the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
To understand more about the effect of cannabis on metabolism, including glucose regulation and insulin secretion, researchers conducted a systematic review of previous studies in this area.
Their meta-analysis of seven studies, containing 11 surveys and four cohort studies, revealed that the odds of developing Type 2 diabetes was 0.48 times (95%) lower than in those who had not consumed cannabis.
The authors conclude: “A protective effect of cannabis consumption on the odds of diabetes mellitus type 2 development has been suggested. Yet given the considerable interstudy heterogeneity, the upward trend of cannabis consumption and cannabis legalisation is recommended to conduct studies with higher levels of evidence.”
One third of cancer patients use cannabis – but do their doctors know?
Results from a survey of over 1,200 cancer patients, show that almost a third used cannabis following their diagnosis.
Patients with nine different cancers being treated at a centre in the US between March and August 2021 were surveyed on their cannabis use, as well as their attitudes and communication around it.
Overall 31% used cannabis after diagnosis, ranging from 25% of those with lung cancer to 59% of patients with testicular cancer.
Reasons for cannabis use included difficulty sleeping (48%); stress, anxiety, or depression (46%); and pain (42%), with 70-90% reporting symptom improvement.
However, only 25% of those who used cannabis discussed this with their healthcare providers.
CBD holds ‘promise’ for skin disorders
Researchers carried out a review of previous studies looking at CBD in the treatment of skin disorders such as acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and ageing skin.
They report that the cannabinoid has ‘potential applications’ in the treatment of skin disorders, specifically those which have limited treatment options available or come with side-effects.
It may be a ‘promising’ treatment for chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. And as it can be used as a ‘multifunctional ingredient’ may increase patient adherence to treatment, through reducing the number of products required to manage the condition.
However, the authors add that more research is needed to establish its use in the treatment of these conditions, as well as investigating new applications and addressing the safety of topical CBD.
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