Another study looking at quality of life of patients using medical cannabis has found a majority experience benefits – this time among neurological patients.
In the study carried out by researchers from the Department of Nursing, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece, one hundred medical cannabis patients were given a socio-demographic and clinical questionnaire, and the SF-36 Health Survey scale for assessing quality of life. RAND Corporation developed the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey way back in 1992, and it has been widely used since.
The researchers found the majority of participants using medical cannabis to treat neurological disorders (58%) reported:
- a decrease in their symptoms (96%)
- better energy and vitality (68%)
- ability to perform their professional duties (88%)
- an improvement in sleeping (79%) and appetite (71%)
The participants who reported a longer period of medical cannabis use also reported statistically significant more energy and vitality, better mental and general health status.
There has been a fair amount of stigmatising associated with medical cannabis – so, how are these patients handling disclosure to those around them?
The study found a majority have disclosed medical cannabis use to their family members (85%). Importantly, 93% were supported by family members in their decision. But outside of the family unit, 81% hadn’t revealed their treatment to others in their social environment, which included the workplace.
More from the study can be accessed here.
In 2017, the Greek government legalised the use of cannabis for medical purposes with a doctor’s prescription, and the following year lifted a ban on growing/producing it for appropriately licensed parties. However, it wasn’t until early this year when Greece’s first medicinal cannabis production facility commenced operations. The lack of production combined with a ban on the importation of cannabis products means many patients are still accessing medicines containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) via illicit channels, although there is a significant legal market for other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD).
On a related note, an Australian study (Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria) released earlier this year gauging quality of life for thousands of patients with various conditions* who are using medical cannabis found patients self-reported significant improvements relative to baseline on all 8 aspects of the SF-36, and these improvements were mostly sustained over time.