Patients Frequently Turning To Cannabis To Treat Symptoms Of Sickle Cell Disease

New Haven, CT: Medical cannabis use is relatively common among patients with sickle cell disease, according to survey data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Investigators at Yale University conducted an anonymous questionnaire among 58 patients with the disease. Forty-two percent of respondents reported having used cannabis within the past two years, and 31 percent reported having used it within the past month. Most respondents said that said they did so for therapeutic purposes. Common symptoms of sickle cell disease include pain, fatigue, and swelling of the hands and feet.

Many respondents acknowledged that the use of cannabis “allowed for less use of pain medications” – a finding that is consistent with reports from other cohorts of chronic pain patients.

To date, the use of medicinal cannabis has not been evaluated in controlled settings for patients with sickle cell disease.

Authors concluded: “From our study as well as a few other reports, it appears that many adults with sickle cell disease use marijuana in the belief that it has medicinal benefits. … Thus, there is a strong rationale for the study of the medicinal properties of marijuana and/or its constituents in sickle cell disease.”

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Marijuana use in adults living with sickle cell disease,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.