Study: Pain and Anxiety Most Popular Symptoms Among Those Who Use Medical Marijuana

Study: Pain and Anxiety Most Popular Symptoms Among Those Who Use Medical Marijuana

According to a study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, and epublished by the National Institute of Health, those who consume marijuana for therapeutic purposes often to do so reduce pain and anxiety symptoms.

For the study, which will confirm what many already expected, researches examined the results from 15 separate studies, involving over 6,600 medical cannabis patients in over 30 countries. Authors reported that subjects commonly self-report consuming marijuana to address symptoms of pain (67%) and anxiety (52%), reports NORML. About one-third of subjects also reported consuming marijuana to address symptoms related to depression or some other mood-related disorder. The use of cannabis to stimulate appetite and alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress were also reported by many patients.

The study concluded: “Collectively, these data indicate that pain, anxiety, and depression are common reasons that patients report as reasons for using medical cannabis.”

“A 2017 report by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that “conclusive or substantial evidence” exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain, but reported only “limited data” in support of the use of cannabis for anxiety disorders”, states NORML.

For the full study, click here. The full abstract of the study can be found below.


Certifications for medical cannabis are generally restricted to a small number of specific medical conditions, yet patients frequently report symptoms of pain, anxiety, and depression as reasons for use. This is a critical concern for researchers, healthcare providers, and policymakers, yet research in this area is currently obstructed by the lack of a focused review or empirical synthesis on patient-reported reasons for medical cannabis use.


AND METHOD: The first aim of this project was to conduct the first systematic review and meta-analysis of empirical studies of patient-reported symptoms of pain, anxiety, and depression as reasons for medical cannabis use. The second aim was to conduct an empirical assessment of the methodological quality of extant research, test for publication bias, and test sex composition and quality scores of individual studies as possible sources of observed heterogeneity.


Meta-analytic results indicated that pain (64%), anxiety (50%), and depression/mood (34%) were common reasons for medical cannabis use. No evidence for publication bias was detected, despite heterogeneity in prevalence rates. A comprehensive assessment of study quality identified a number of specific methodological limitations of the existing research, including challenges in patient recruitment, use of restrictive sampling frames, and a lack of randomized recruitment methods and validated assessment measures.


Findings are discussed with regard to possible explanations for current results, clinical considerations, and areas of future research that are needed to move the field forward.

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