By / July 3, 2023

Five New Cannabis Studies: Anxiety, ADHD, Fibromyalgia, Cancer, and Sport

As studies on the use of cannabis, both medical and recreational, continue to unfold, here are three recent studies that are closer to us, focusing on the treatment of anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and fibromyalgia.

And further along, results suggest that cannabis could have neuroprotective properties for athletes suffering from concussions, and in the United States, researchers are exploring the effects of medical cannabis on cancer patients.

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Cannabis Associated With a Reduction in Anxiety in a Real-World Study

Data from the United Kingdom shows that the prescription of cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) is associated with “clinically significant” improvements in patients with generalized anxiety disorders (GAD).

Questionnaires were completed by over 300 patients registered in the U.K. Medical Cannabis Registry during follow-up appointments at three, six, and nine months after starting treatment. These results were then compared to the patient’s symptoms at the beginning.

According to the authors, improvements in anxiety, sleep quality, and quality of life were observed at each stage.

“The prescription of CBMPs in individuals with GAD is associated with clinically significant improvements in anxiety with an acceptable safety profile in a real-world setting,” they concluded. “Randomized trials are needed as the next step to study the efficacy of CBMPs.”

Chronic Cannabis Consumption Shows Promise in Athletes With Concussions

As cannabis consumption becomes increasingly common among athletes for recovery purposes, researchers examined whether chronic consumption reduced or exacerbated the impact of acute concussions.

The study involved 43 American football players who had consumed cannabis at least once a week in the past six months. They found that after experiencing 20 controlled head impacts, the degrees of impairment in oculomotor function (which controls eye movements and the amount of light entering the eye) were lower in the group that had consumed cannabis compared to the control group.

The researchers also examined levels of S100B, a protein marker whose elevated concentrations are associated with brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases. S100B levels significantly increased in the control group, while no changes were observed in the cannabis-consuming group.

The authors concluded, “Our data suggest that chronic cannabis consumption may be associated with improved oculomotor functional resilience and suppression of the neuroinflammatory response after 20 head impacts in American football.”

THC Linked to Improvement of Fibromyalgia Symptoms

German researchers examined the efficacy of THC as a treatment for patients with fibromyalgia receiving multimodal, interdisciplinary pain therapy (IMPT).

A total of 120 fibromyalgia patients were included in the study, with just over half (51.7%) being treated with THC. Significant improvements in pain intensity, depression, and quality of life were observed in all patients, but they were “significantly greater” in those who received THC.

The dosage of other medications was also reduced or completely discontinued more frequently in patients treated with THC.

The authors stated, “The results indicate that THC can be considered as a medical alternative in addition to previously recommended substances in various guidelines.”

Review of Studies Calls for More Research on Cannabis and ADHD

Cannabis is increasingly being used as a treatment for neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), despite the lack of clinical research.

Researchers conducted a systematic analysis of articles published over the past ten years to understand the nature of the relationship between cannabis consumption and ADHD symptoms.

According to the authors, the results shed new light on the perceived effects of cannabis on specific symptoms and the potential moderating effects of cannabis on ADHD-related executive function deficits, which have been “largely ignored” in previous research.

However, they added, “The available data to date are inconclusive: The available data to date do not allow us to determine whether cannabis consumption has an addictive effect or interactions, whether beneficial or harmful. The available data to date are relatively limited, and further studies are therefore necessary.”

Nurses Report Positive Effects on Cancer Patients

In 2022, the U.S. state of California recently introduced a bill known as the “Ryan’s Law,” which allows terminally ill cancer patients to access medical cannabis treatment during their hospital stays.

Following the implementation of new policies allowing patients to continue their treatment, researchers studied nurses’ reactions and their perception of the impact of cannabis on patients’ symptoms.

The majority of nurses felt comfortable implementing the law in their practice and reported that medical cannabis had a “positive impact.” Most of them believed that patients had “improved symptoms” after consuming medical cannabis. Anxiety and insomnia were the most common symptoms that improved, followed by pain, nausea, and anorexia.

(Featured image by Lukas via Pexels)

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