Non-cancer use of cannabis: what conditions and symptoms are most improved?

Researchers in Australia conducted this retrospective medical record study that included mostly (82%) patients with neurological or musculoskeletal conditions. Their goal was to assess effectiveness and safety as reported by patients. It was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in February 2023.

Medical records of patients over 18 years with a non-cancer diagnoses who were prescribed medicinal cannabis between February 2018 and November 2021 were included. There were only 157 records included, and 64% of the patients were women. The average age of patients was 63, and most came from the greater Sydney area in Australia. They tracked patient input over 30 months.

They used the Symptom Assessment Scale to quantify and assess effectiveness. This assessment tool uses a 0-10 scale with zero meaning "no symptoms" and 10 meaning the "worst possible symptoms". Breathing, bowel problems, appetite problems, pain, insomnia, nausea and fatigue are the main symptoms quantified. The most common patient symptoms were pain (86.6%), muscle spasm (11.5%), and sleep (6.4%). 

The greatest benefits were reported by those with neuropathic pain followed by Parkinson's Disease and MS (multiple sclerosis). The most improved symptoms were sleep and pain. Improvements were reported after 3 months, and they remained mostly stable for the following 27 months.

Patients mostly used an oral oil extract. The average daily dose was about 35mg CBD and 17mg Delta 9-THC, however the range of doses was significant. The maximum dose was about 85mg CBD and 34mg Delta 9-THC.


The results based on the diagnosed conditions:

neuropathic pain/peripheral neuropathy had the highest rate of perceived benefit (66.6%),

followed by Parkinson’s disease (60.9%), multiple sclerosis (60.0%), migraine (43.8%), chronic pain syndrome (42.1%), and spondylosis (40.0%)


The results based on specific symptoms, or indications:

medicinal cannabis had the greatest perceived effect on sleep (80.0%), followed by pain (51.5%), and muscle spasm (50%).


The adverse effects:

The most common side effects as reported by 68 patients (43.3%, n = 157) were somnolence (21.0%), dry mouth (7.6%), disorientation/confusion (3.8%), intoxication (3.8%), constipation (2.5%), and dizziness (2.5%)


In summary, the authors said:

This study supports medicinal cannabis’ potential to safely treat non-cancer chronic conditions and indications.



The full text article is here at