Medicinal cannabis eases pain, anxiety, fatigue: study

Medicinal cannabis boosts the health and quality of life of patients suffering from mental health conditions, chronic pain and fatigue, an Australian study shows.

The longitudinal study, led by the University of Sydney, followed 2327 Australian patients who were prescribed medicinal cannabis for health conditions between November 2020 and December 2021.

Their conditions ranged from chronic pain (69 per cent), sleep disorders (23 per cent), anxiety (22 per cent) and anxiety or depression (11 per cent).

Roughly half the patients, who were recruited by 120 doctors across six states and aged 18 to 97, were being treated for more than one condition.

Results from the first three months of the treatment showed improvements in the patients' health-related quality of life and fatigue across all assessed conditions, except sleep disorders.

General practitioner Jamie Rickcord, who was involved in the Quality of Life Evaluation Study, said the results should embolden doctors to offer medicinal cannabis as a treatment option.

"The QUEST results show that medicinal cannabis provides statistically, and more importantly, clinically significant improvements in pain levels, fatigue and quality of life for patients," he said in a statement.

Participants completed a questionnaire before the study, along with regular follow-ups for up to a year after beginning their treatment.

Twelve-month results continue to be analysed to assess if the clinical benefits of medicinal cannabis for patients are maintained over the longer term.

The study's peer-reviewed findings will be published in open-access journal PLOS ONE on Thursday.

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