Review: Patients Frequently Report Consuming Cannabis To Mitigate Symptoms of Pain and Anxiety

Syracuse, NY: Those who consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes typically self-report using it to reduce symptoms of pain and anxiety, according to the results of a systematic literature review in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

A team of researchers from Syracuse University in New York pooled results from 15 separate studies, involving over 6,600 medical cannabis patients in over 30 countries.

Authors reported that subjects commonly self-report consuming cannabis to address symptoms of pain (67 percent) and anxiety (52 percent). About one-third of subjects also reported consuming cannabis to address symptoms related to depression or some other mood-related disorder. The use of cannabis to stimulate appetite and alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress were also reported by many patients.

They concluded, "Collectively, these data indicate that pain, anxiety, and depression are common reasons that patients report as reasons for using medical cannabis."

A 2017 report by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that "conclusive or substantial evidence" exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain, but reported only "limited data" in support of the use of cannabis for anxiety disorders.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, "Patient-reported use of medical cannabis for pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms: Systematic review and meta-analysis," appears in Social Science & Medicine.