By definition, living life with a chronic illness is full of constant pain, uncomfortability, and uncertainty. But for patients living with incurable ailments like HIV or epilepsy, there is one thing that can improve day-to-day life even more than some pharmaceuticals: cannabis.
According to a new research paper published in the latest issue of Phytotherapy Research, scientists in Spain and Brazil tracked quality of life status of chronically ill patients in 4, 8, and 12 month increments. To see if marijuana had any affect on the lived experience of their ailments, researchers observed and recorded updates as 90 percent of the test group self-medicated with cannabis daily.
Once the longitudinal time frame was complete, researchers compared patient reports during daily cannabis use to their status before picking up pot, and discovered a significant effect.
"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)," the authors wrote.
As medical cannabis continues to grow in popularity across the globe, advocates have long argued that the plant not only works as a stop-gap for seizures or an appetite booster for cancer patients, but as a general wellness product that is able to benefit mentally as much as physically.
But like most cannabis research, a lack of institutional support or product uniformity has pushed the study’s authors to seek more in-depth and longer longitudinal studies before their work is truly done.
"It seems that medical cannabis could act as a substitute for other medications that have harmful or unwanted side effects,” the researchers concluded. “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."
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