According to a new study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, the sustained use of marijuana in patients with chronic conditions is associated with quality of life maintenance and a lack of cognitive decline. The study, titled Quality of life, mental health, personality and patterns of use in self-medicated cannabis users with chronic diseases: A 12-month longitudinal study, was also published by the National Institute of Health.
For the study researchers examined the use of marijuana over a 12-month period in a cohort of patients with chronic diseases, such as HIV, epilepsy, and fibromyalgia. Around 90% of participants self-medicated with cannabis daily.
Researchers there to be no decline in either cognition or psychopathology measures in those who consumed marijuana regularly.
“Mid-term use of medical cannabis seems to show adequate tolerability regarding cognitive and psychopathological abilities, and it may help patients with chronic diseases to maintain an acceptable QoL (quality of life),” states the study. “It seems that medical cannabis could act as a substitute for other medications that have harmful or unwanted side effects. Further research is necessary, including research that recruits medical cannabis patients before they begin treatment and follows them prospectively in order to establish potential causal relations.”
The study’s abstract is below:
The number of patients using cannabis for therapeutic purposes is growing worldwide. While research regarding the treatment of certain diseases/disorders with cannabis and cannabinoids is also expanding, only a few longitudinal studies have assessed the mid-term impacts of medical cannabis use on psychological variables and quality of life (QoL). The aim of the study was to assess the psychological safety and QoL of patients with chronic diseases who self-medicate with cannabis over time. We recruited patients with various chronic diseases who use cannabis and collected data regarding patterns of cannabis use as well as mental health, personality and QoL. Participants were followed-up at baseline, 4, 8 and 12 months. Hair analysis was conducted to confirm the presence of cannabinoids. Personality assessment showed a consistent decrease in self-transcendence and self-directedness scores. Neither cognitive nor psychopathological deterioration was found. There were also no variations in QoL. Mid-term use of medical cannabis seems to show adequate tolerability regarding cognitive and psychopathological abilities, and it may help patients with chronic diseases to maintain an acceptable QoL.