20 Jun Medicinal Cannabis Users Report Better Quality of Life and Fewer Emergency Room Visits
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D.
Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD 21224
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The background for this study is that 33 states in the U.S. have legalized medicinal cannabis use and millions of people are using cannabis for therapeutic purposes, but we have very little data on the broad health impacts of medicinal cannabis use.
We surveyed medicinal cannabis users and non-using controls who had a variety of health problems and found that the cannabis users reported better health, quality of life, and less healthcare utilization compared with controls. Because we worried about group characteristics accounting for the differences observed, we then did an analysis of people who switched groups over time (e.g. non-users who later initiated cannabis use or cannabis users who later quit) and found the same differences emerged in the same individuals over time. Important to note here is that not all individuals who used cannabis benefited from it and that most participants were using high CBD varieties of cannabis in conjunction with more traditional treatments.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: This is a very broad study of cannabis and health that indicates there indeed may be therapeutic benefit from the use of certain types of cannabis products. The most surprising and meaningful results were that cannabis users reported use of significantly fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations compared with controls, which are very tangible and important metrics of health.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We plan to dig a little deeper into our data set to evaluate the health impacts of medicinal cannabis use in sub-populations of study participants based on type of health condition or type of cannabis product being used. Additional research is also needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of defined cannabis products at a specific formulation and dose among individuals with target diagnosed health conditions using placebo-controlled clinical trials to further our understanding of the risks and benefits of cannabis in medicine and to Inform clinical decision making in this area.
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