Patients with anxiety, chronic pain, PTSD and other conditions show improvements with cannabis medicines

This study used self-reported, observational patient data to assess cannabis' effectiveness for any condition and overall quality of life changes. It was published online in the journal Drug Science in May 2023.

The study included 2833 patients from the United Kingdom diagnosed with any condition and were using cannabinoid medicine. About 50% of these patients also completed a 3-month follow-up of their outcomes.

Although the authors allowed patients with ANY condition for most of the study, over 90% of patients suffered from one of 3 conditions: chronic pain (53.1%), anxiety (31.6%), or PTSD. About 64% of the patients were male and the average age of all patients was just over 40 years. 92.3% of the patients reported at least one secondary condition (comorbidity).

Patients with anxiety disorders showed the greatest improvement overall, although chronic pain and PTSD patients also showed improvements.

Here are the primary products used:

  • THC-dominant flower (64.0%)
  • THC-dominant oil (17.8%)
  • Balanced oil (11.8%)
  • CBD dominant oil (4.5%)
  • balanced flower (1.4%)
  • CBD dominant flower (0.5%).

The authors make an important point about the challenge of developing formal clinical trials for cannabinoid medicine: "the range of unique constituents within whole-plant formulations of the cannabis plant is not well suited to traditional RCTs [randomized controlled trials]." Cannabis typically contains MANY recognized, beneficial active ingredients (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc.), while the gold standard of medical research (RCTs) usually focuses on just one or two active ingredients.

This challenge is one reason why many feel that real world evidence is a better way to develop knowledge about the effectiveness of cannabinoid medicines.

Conclusions in the authors' words:

Together, these results provide compelling RWE [real world evidence] for the effectiveness of CBMPS for ameliorating symptoms, improving quality of life, and reducing the use of other prescribed medications across a range of chronic health conditions.

these results indicate that prescribed cannabinoids are associated with a reduction in condition-specific symptomatology, improvement in quality of life and a reduction in prescribed opioid use.

Adverse events were rare (3.2% reported one or more adverse events)

the most common AEs were dry mouth (15 occurrences) and feeling drowsy or having red eyes  


The full text article is here at Sage Journals.