Study: Medical Cannabis Associated with Quality of Life Maintenance in Chronic Disease Patients

Barcelona, Spain: The sustained use of medical cannabis in patients with chronic conditions is associated with quality of life maintenance and a lack of cognitive decline, according to longitudinal data published in the journal Phytotherapy Research.

A team of Spanish and Brazilian investigators assessed the use of cannabis over a 12-month period in a cohort of patients with chronic diseases, such as HIV, epilepsy, and fibromyalgia. Most participants (90 percent) in the study self-medicated with cannabis daily.

Researchers reported no decline in either cognition or psychopathology measures. Patients’ quality of life scores held steady over the study period.

“Mid-term use of medical cannabis seems to show adequate tolerability regarding cognitive and psychopathological abilities, and it may help patients with chronic diseases to maintain an acceptable QoL (quality of life),” authors concluded. “It seems that medical cannabis could act as a substitute for other medications that have harmful or unwanted side effects. Further research is necessary, including research that recruits medical cannabis patients before they begin treatment and follows them prospectively in order to establish potential causal relations.”

The findings are consistent with those of other studies, such as those here and here, associating medical cannabis use with either maintaining or improving self-reported quality of life measures among patients and seniors.

Full text of the study, “Quality of life, mental health, personality and patterns of use in self-medicated cannabis users with chronic diseases: A 12-month longitudinal study,” appears in Phytotherapy Research.