London, United Kingdom: Patients’ consumption of medical cannabis products is well-tolerated and is associated with significant improvements in their health-related quality of life, according to observational data published in the journal Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology.
British investigators assessed the safety and efficacy of cannabis-derived products in 2,833 patients enrolled in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry. All of the participants possessed a doctor’s authorization to access cannabis products. (Since 2018, specialists have been permitted to prescribe cannabis-based medicinal products to patients unresponsive to conventional medications.)
Patients enrolled in the registry suffered from a variety of disorders, including chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression, migraine, inflammatory bowel disease, and other afflictions. Study participants consumed cannabis by either vaporizing marijuana flowers or by ingesting plant-derived extracts containing both THC and CBD. Researchers assessed subjects’ symptoms compared to baseline at one, three, six, and twelve months.
Authors reported that the majority of patients experienced sustained improvements following cannabis therapy. Adverse events associated with cannabis were typically mild, with the most frequently reported side-effects being dry mouth and fatigue.
They concluded: “This observational study suggests that initiating treatment with CBMPs [cannabis-based medicinal products] is associated with an improvement in general HRQoL [health-related quality of life], as well as sleep- and anxiety-specific symptoms up to 12 months in patients with chronic illness. … Most patients tolerated the treatment well, however, the risk of AEs [adverse events] should be considered before initiating CBMPs. In particular, female and cannabis-naïve patients are at increased likelihood of experiencing adverse events. These findings may help to inform current clinical practice, but most importantly, highlights the need for further clinical trials to determine causality and generate guidelines to optimize therapy with CBMPs.”
Full text of the study, “An observational study of safety and clinical outcome measures across patient groups in the United Kingdom Medical Cannabis Registry,” appears in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology.