Therapeutic benefits of cannabis: a patient survey
Clinical research regarding the therapeutic benefits of cannabis (“marijuana“) has been almost non-existent in the United States since cannabis was given Schedule I status in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. In order to discover the benefits and adverse effects perceived by medical cannabis patients, especially with regards to chronic pain, we hand-delivered surveys to one hundred consecutive patients who were returning for yearly re-certification for medical cannabis use in Hawai’i. The response rate was 94%. Mean and median ages were 49.3 and 51 years respectively. Ninety-seven per cent of respondents used cannabis primarily for chronic pain. Average pain improvement on a 0-10 pain scale was 5.0 (from 7.8 to 2.8), which translates to a 64% relative decrease in average pain. Half of all respondents also noted relief from stress/anxiety, and nearly half (45%) reported relief from insomnia. Most patients (71%) reported no adverse effects, while 6% reported a cough or throat irritation and 5% feared arrest even though medical cannabis is legal in Hawai’i. No serious adverse effects were reported. These results suggest that Cannabis is an extremely safe and effective medication for many chronic pain patients. Cannabis appears to alleviate pain, insomnia, and may be helpful in relieving anxiety. Cannabis has shown extreme promise in the treatment of numerous medical problems and deserves to be released from the current Schedule I federal prohibition against research and prescription.