Canadian researchers published a new study in the Journal of Pain Management that suggests medical cannabis patients strongly believe in the healing properties of the plant. The study involved 2,588 non-cancer patients from a single Canadian provider who completed an online survey prior to the initiation of medical cannabis use and then again after four- and ten-month benchmarks. The surveys collected data on patient demographics, medical conditions, presence and severity of symptoms, and quality of life.
What did the researchers find? For starters, the most commonly reported health issues (other than cancer) were as follows: anxiety disorders (32.9 percent), depression (32.6 percent), sleep disorders (26.7 percent), post-traumatic stress disorder (22.6 percent) and arthritis (22.5 percent).
At the four-month mark, patients reported significant improvements in their ailments, including sleep disorders (79.2 percent), anxiety disorders (77.5 percent), post-traumatic stress disorder (76.9 percent), depression (71.6 percent) and arthritis (70 percent).
"Reductions in symptoms and symptom severity, as well as improvement in [quality of life] were also demonstrated at [the four-month mark] and remained stable from 4-month to 10-month [follow-up]," the researchers noted. "Pain severity was significantly reduced."
Self-reported surveys are certainly not the gold standard for clinical research, and the patients likely had a positive predisposition to medical cannabis based on the fact that they sought relief with it. For this reason, the findings do require a major caveat, but it is noteworthy that thousands of patients had such a high regard for the efficacy of medical cannabis for such a wide range of mental and physical ailments.