Medical cannabis can provide relief from symptoms from dozens of health conditions with minimal negative side effects, according to new research.
Two studies published recently in the journals Frontiers in Pharmacology and Medicine found that patients with health conditions such as chronic pain and insomnia saw “statistically and clinically significant therapeutic benefits” when they used medical cannabis, according to a press release from the University of New Mexico.
Researchers from the university studied data obtained through the Releaf App. This app, developed by several of the studies’ authors, is “the largest repository of user-entered information on the consumption and effect of cannabis use in the United States,” the release states. It has almost 100,000 entries.
The app is designed to record how using marijuana corresponds to changes in the intensity of symptoms and any side effects a person experiences. It helps “track and learn which types of cannabis, dosing and ingestion methods work best.”
The study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that users suffering from 27 different health conditions with symptoms ranging from seizures to depression reported a mean reduction in symptoms of 2.8 to 4.6 points on a zero to 10 point scale after consuming cannabis in various forms, including concentrates and topicals. People using the drug to treat anxiety- and depression-related symptoms reported more relief than people with pain symptoms.
In the second study, researchers examined how cannabis buds treated insomnia. Cannabis users on the Releaf App experienced a reduction of symptom severity of an average 4.5 points on a zero to 10 point scale. According to the study, people who consumed the drug via pipes and vaporizers experienced greater relief of symptoms, and those who vaped experienced fewer negative effects.
According to the release, data from the app showed that an overall 94 percent of cannabis users suffering from a variety of health conditions reported that the intensity of their symptoms was reduced after consuming the drug. Additionally, the use of marijuana was associated with non-serious side effects.
“If the results found in our studies can be extrapolated to the general population, cannabis could systematically replace multi-billion dollar medication industries around the world. It is likely already beginning to do so,” Jacob Vigil, co-author of the studies, said in the release.
Because many prescription medications have negative side effects, medical marijuana has been gaining popularity, especially among older patients and those with significant health conditions, the release states. Marijuana has been studied as potential treatment for a number of health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, chronic pain and epilepsy.