Study: Chronic Pain Patients Report Improved Quality of Life Following Medical Cannabis Use

Philadelphia, PA: Patients with chronic pain conditions report improvements in their health-related quality of life following the use of cannabis, according to data published in the journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

Investigators assessed the use of cannabis in a cohort of 181 pain patients enrolled in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana access program. Participants were surveyed at baseline and then again at two, four, and eight weeks.

During the course of the study, subjects experienced “a significant improvement in both pain scores and HRQoL [health-related quality of life.]” Patients also demonstrated “significant improvements” in managing their anxiety.

Authors concluded, “The results of this study show that MM[medical marijuana], when used for the treatment of pain, can be beneficial at improving a patient’s QoL [quality of life] along with alleviating their pain.”

Several gold-standard human trials show that cannabis can alleviate pain in various patient populations, including those with HIV, diabetes, spinal cord injury, and with treatment-resistant neuropathy (nerve pain). A 2017 review of over 10,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine acknowledged, “In adults with chronic pain, patients who [are] treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms. … There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis is effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults.”

Numerous observational studies also consistently report that the initiation of medical cannabis is associated with self-reported improvements in patients’ quality of life, particularly among elderly subjects

Full text of the study, “Measuring the change in health-related quality of life in patients using marijuana for pain relief,” appears in Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. Additional information on cannabis and pain relief is available from NORML.