By Emily Ledger
Cannabis users have a higher quality of life when compared to non-users, according to the results of a recent study. Thousands of participants completed an online survey, designed to quantify the quality of life of cannabis users.
Demographic data, cannabis and other substance use information were collected, and standardised scales were used to assess quality of life, including wellbeing, anxiety and depression scores. The majority of respondents were young adult males, without children, who were employed with at least a high-school education.
The results showed that participants who reported themselves to be habitual and regular users of cannabis were more likely to self-classify higher quality of life scores than non-users or self-reported problematic users. Of participants that reported themselves to be cannabis users, 17.1% recorded occasional cannabis use, 64.6% recorded habitual use, and 7.7% reported to be problematic or dysfunctional users.
Habitual users were the most likely to report the highest quality of life scores, followed by occasional users. On the other hand, low quality of life scores were more prevalent among non-users and dysfunctional users.
Dysfunctional users were also more likely to report depression and anxiety symptoms, with subjective measures of wellbeing also being lowest in this group. Non-users also reported more symptoms of anxiety and depression than occasional users and habitual users.
The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, said: “The results obtained in this study are particularly relevant because they refer to a sample predominantly composed of habitual cannabis users from the general population, a rarely represented group in other surveys.
“The fact that cannabis use is generally associated with increased risk of adverse health outcomes was not observed in this study.”
While the results of this study may further support the potential of cannabis as a medical treatment for a number of conditions – given its apparent benefits for quality of life and mental health – it is important to note the limitations of this study.
First of all, it may be difficult to effectively quantify quality of life – particularly with the use of a survey. Furthermore, the sample used is clearly not representative of the real population, as there was a significantly higher proportion of cannabis users compared with non-users.
Nonetheless, these findings add to the growing body of evidence that cannabis can be a useful and effective addition to current medical treatments as well as to enhance general wellbeing.