By Emily Ledger
Cannabis is used by millions of people around the world who claim that the plant eases the symptoms of a wide variety of conditions. The publication of a medical Cannabis patient trial in New Zealand – published Wednesday – appears to support these claims. Hundreds of patients who took part in the trial reported improved quality of life.
Medical Cannabis may have the ability to ease anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and psychotic episodes, according to the study. Around 400 patients were monitored in a period from December 2017 and 2018. A significant number of the patients claimed that the CBD-based medication helped them to manage their condition.
Researchers claim to have identified a marked improvement to quality of life, as well as decreased pain and anxiety. However, they also note that around 30% of patients did not report any benefits of using CBD medication.
Patients suffered from a range of conditions including non-cancer-related pain, mental health conditions, and cancer-related pain and other symptoms.
Medicinal products containing CBD were legalised for prescription in New Zealand in 2017. During the trial, patients took CBD oil for four weeks, before reporting on any changes in their conditions. Only 253 of the original 397 patients completed a follow-up assessment.
Of the follow-up group, 70% reported “good to excellent benefit for relatively intractable conditions”. However, the remaining 30% of the follow-up group reported no benefit to CBD use.
In conclusion, the researchers reported that:
“CBD is well tolerated in most patients and may be of benefit to patients with various intractable chronic conditions.”
Nevertheless, the authors of the medical Cannabis patient trial accepted that their study had a number of limitations. These limitations included a large loss to follow-up data, which were the result of cost barriers and patients not attending follow-up meetings. Therefore, the results, though promising, may not be accurately indicative of the whole patient population.
Patients taking part in the study had to pay a significant sum for the medication: USD150 for an initial consultation; USD300 for 2500mg of the CBD oil; and an additional USD75 for the follow-up appointment.
Although this research has some significant setbacks, the findings reported by patients add to the growing precedent for increased clinical trials which assess the potential of cannabinoids in the management of many conditions.
New Zealand is set to vote on the legalisation of recreational Cannabis later this year.