A nonprofit organization dedicated to therapeutic cannabis research and education known as the Realm of Caring Foundation, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, has been diligently collecting data from cannabis users and non-users alike over the past 4 years for purposes of evaluating the impact of medicinal cannabis use on patient-level health and quality of life.
A web-based study enrolled 1,276 participants (including those already using a cannabis product and those considering its use) between April 2016 and February 2018.
Of the 1,276 participants, 524 adult patients and 284 adult caregivers of children or dependent adults, all self-reported using cannabis for medicinal purposes. The control group consisted of 271 adult patients who were considering cannabis use, and 197 adult caregivers who were considering it for a dependent child or adult patient.
All of the participants self-reported that they or their dependent patient had a diagnosed health condition at the time of the baseline assessment. Primary conditions included neurological diseases such as MS and epilepsy, chronic pain from autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia, back pain, cancer, insomnia, and psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
The research findings of the study, entitled “A Cross-Sectional and Prospective Comparison of Medicinal Cannabis Users and Controls on Self-Reported Health,” was published this week in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, Volume X, Number X, 2020.
Fifty-eight percent of patients used CBD-dominant products. By comparison, THC-dominant products were used by 13%, balanced THC/CBD products by 5%, and products in which the highest concentration was a minor cannabinoid, such as cannabigerol (CBG) or cannabinol (CBN), by 3% of cannabis users. Many participants (21%) did not know or did not specify the chemotype of the cannabis products they used.
The results of the study found that cannabis users self-reported having a significantly better quality of life in several areas of their lives, e.g., improved sleep, less pain, less hospital and ER visits, less seizures, reduced anxiety and depression. Further, members of the control group who initiated cannabis use after baseline showed significant health improvements at follow-up.