Survey of Medical Cannabis Patients Finds Self-Reported Reductions in Pain, Prescription Medications

Tallahassee, FL: Patients enrolled in Florida’s medical cannabis access program typically report reductions in their pain and anxiety, as well as in their use of prescription medications – specifically opioids, according to data published in the journal Complimentary Therapies in Medicine.

A team of researchers affiliated with Florida A&M University’s Institute of Public Health surveyed 196 registered medical cannabis patients.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents said that medical cannabis provided them with “great relief” for their medical condition. Respondents were most likely to cite cannabis’ effectiveness for reducing anxiety, improving pain management, improving sleep, addressing post-traumatic stress, stimulating appetite, and enhancing their overall quality of life. Participants also reported that they “ceased using several prescription drugs for pain, anxiety, and mental problems” – a finding that is consistent with those of prior studies. Respondents “frequently cited reductions in opioid use,” a finding that is also consistent with other studies.

Authors concluded: “Both the interview findings and survey results indicated a wide swath of patients sought medical cannabis for the relief of chronic pain from various medical conditions and were able to reduce their use of prescription medications. … Medical marijuana patients were very willing to participate in both the surveys and interviews and took an active interest in wanting to learn about the outcomes from this research study. This finding bodes well for future research on understanding patient perspectives of the use of cannabis-based medicines.”

Full text of the study, “Mixed methods study of the potential therapeutic benefits from medical cannabis for patients in Florida,” appears in Complimentary Therapies in Medicine. Additional information is available from the NORML fact sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.”