UK Data Indicates Medical Cannabis Improves Quality Of Life

Data from a UK registry collating outcomes on prescribed medical cannabis use indicates a statistically significant improvement in health-related quality of life for patients.

The UK Medical Cannabis Registry, set up by Sapphire Medical, contains the details of what is reportedly the largest group of patients in the UK treated with medical cannabis. The anonymised data is made available on request to the medical community for analysis.

Recent analysis of self-reported outcomes of 312 patients participating in the Registry found statistically significant improvements in health-related quality of life at one, three, and six-months following treatment.

The most common primary diagnoses were chronic pain and neuropathic pain, but it seems this is often (and understandably) accompanied by anxiety.

“Across all patients at baseline, the average anxiety score was consistent with a diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder. At follow up, the average score reduced to below clinically relevant levels.”

Sapphire Medical says this suggests that in addition to condition-specific changes, medical cannabis may also impact on the experience of symptoms of patients with chronic health problems.

Patients also experienced improvements in self-reported sleep quality, but whether this was connected to their use of medical cannabis couldn’t be proved due to the nature of the study’s design.

In terms of adverse events, there were ninety-four (30.1%) reported, most commonly being nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, and sleepiness – but these were mainly mild.

The full study report was recently published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research and can be viewed in full here.

The results follow initial analysis published last year based on Registry data that also found statistically significant improvements in anxiety, pain, sleep and general quality of life scores at the points of 1- and 3-months following treatment.

In the UK, doctors have been able to prescribe medical cannabis products to patients under certain circumstances since 2018, after attention was drawn to the case of young epilepsy sufferer Billy Caldwell, which triggered a review of UK medical cannabis laws.

However, another Bill is in the works that aims to improve access to cannabis products by expanding the ability to prescribe unlicensed cannabis medical products to General Practitioners.

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