Researchers announced that early data shows cannabis use can help patients suffering from severe conditions to live a normal life.
According to the organisers at Project Twenty21, this ground-breaking medical cannabis patient study, more than 900 patients have received medical cannabis for a prescription.
Using the EQ-5D-5L rating, which is basically the standard to quantify the wellbeing of patients with serious conditions such as cancer, the researchers claimed that the patients in the study are in much poorer health than the general public.
It is now reported that “legally prescribed cannabis provides clinically significant improvements in the quality of life of patients living with conditions such as Chronic Pain, Multiple Sclerosis, Tourette’s Syndrome, Epilepsy, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”
The study found a “51% increase” in patients’ self-reported health and ability to lead a more normal life, demonstrated by an average increase from 40.7 to 61.5 after three months.
Medical cannabis use had significant improvements in patients’ ability to manage debilitating secondary conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and depression.
Also, patients in the study are now able to avoid criminality with legal prescriptions – 63% had previously felt compelled to turn to illegal use in an attempt to manage their conditions.
Researchers claimed that medical cannabis prescriptions provide an alternative to commonly prescribed medicines that have a high risk of dependency and serious side effects, including dependency.
Prof David Nutt, Founder of Drug Science, said: “A lack of clinical evidence has made it difficult for doctors to confidently prescribe legal medical cannabis in the UK.
“These new findings provide a major step forward, and help to clarify the benefit these medicines can have for thousands of seriously ill patients.”
Drug Science reiterated that it may be time to move away from relying “too heavily” on opioids for treating pain.