Patients who are permitted to use oral cannabis products derived from plants experience long-term improvement in their symptoms, according to the data published in the journal PLOS One.
Medical cannabis (MC) has gained increasing attention as a potential treatment for a variety of medical conditions. In Australia, where recreational cannabis remains illegal, regulatory access to good manufacturing practice (GMP)-grade medicinal cannabis was granted in November 2016, and up to 100,000 Australians are now actively taking regularly prescribed MC. There are currently at least 375 medicinal cannabis products available in Australia, with varying concentrations of the two main cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates MC production standards to ensure quality, stability, and safety.
Observational studies and registry data analysis in the United Kingdom and Canada have shown that MC may improve outcomes such as pain, sleep, anxiety, and quality of life. However, these studies have often included smaller numbers of patients and shorter follow-up periods.
The Australian Emyria Clinical e-Registry (AECeR) is the first national web-based medicinal cannabis treatment electronic registry in Australia, and it is monitoring nearly 4,000 patients taking prescribed oral MC for up to 24 months. Therefore, the study aims to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of oral MC in this patient population.
The study found that medical cannabis was safe and well-tolerated for a sustained period in a large group of patients with multiple medical conditions and who were taking multiple medications. It was also effective in improving symptoms such as pain, sleep, anxiety, and quality of life.
While these findings add to the growing body of evidence supporting the use of medical cannabis for various medical conditions, it's important to note that this was an uncontrolled observational study. More research is needed to fully understand the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis in the long term.
If you're considering using medical cannabis to treat a medical condition, it's important to talk to a healthcare professional about the potential risks and benefits and whether it is an appropriate treatment option for you.