By / February 17, 2023

Spanish Cannabis Study Finds Long-term Use Has No Negative Health Effects

The results of a Spanish cannabis study on cannabis use, which analyzed data from 600,000 Spanish residents who regularly use cannabis, indicate that long-term cannabis use does not contribute to poor health.

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Spanish Cannabis Study Survey Overview

Cannabis consumption among Spaniards is among the highest in Europe, just after France. Personal use of cannabis is decriminalized in Spain, and consumption or possession in public places is punishable by a fine.

The researchers of the Spanish cannabis study, whose findings were published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, used 419 people among 600,000 respondents from a national population survey conducted in 2019-2020 who lived in Catalonia and had used cannabis in the past 30 days.

Using specific methods to analyze data from the respondents, the researchers calculated that the sample of 419 regular cannabis users was sufficient to represent the group of cannabis users with more than 95% accuracy.

Those included in the study had an average age of 33, worked mainly in the service, administrative or commercial sectors, and nearly three-quarters had a college degree.

Spanish Cannabis Study Results

When asked about their previous drug use, 60% of respondents said they had used MDMA, 57% cocaine, 51% LSD, mushrooms, or other psychedelics, 40% amphetamine, and 23% ketamine.

Commenting on the study group’s previous drug use, the Spanish cannabis study authors said: “The study sample had higher drug use than the general population… However, this higher use does not appear to be associated with adverse health effects.”

Comparison With the General Population

Most of the indicators used by the researchers to assess the respondents’ health status showed no deterioration compared to the general population. These indicators include BMI, cholesterol, physical activity, perception of one’s health and the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed.

88% of respondents had a positive perception of their health, 67% of cannabis users had a normal BMI compared to the general population, and 76% of cannabis users walked at least 10 minutes a day, compared to 70% in the general population.

To assess mental health, the Spanish cannabis study researchers asked several questions, including “How do you feel when using cannabis?” 94% of respondents said they were “happy,” 92% said they were “full of ideas,” and 81% said they had a “better understanding of the world.”

The researchers said in their study that “most indicators showed no deterioration in the health of regular cannabis users compared to the general population. The Spanish cannabis study observed that users had more sleep problems, and about 40% of the subjects wanted to stop using cannabis, which may suggest a pattern of addiction. About 30% of the subjects were able to stop taking prescription drugs thanks to cannabis. 

Spanish Study Authors Recommend More Research

The Spanish cannabis study’s authors recommend including more cannabis-related questions in future national population surveys and warn of the risk of cannabis addiction problems.

“Comparing our sample with data obtained from the general population using the ESCA, we found that cannabis users had better measures of positive self-perceptions of their health, BMI, cholesterol and blood pressure problems, presence of chronic diseases, physical limitations in daily activities, mode of transportation (cannabis users prefer cycling) and depression,” the researchers said.

While these differences in the Spanish cannabis study cannot be attributed solely to cannabis use, the researchers suggest that regular cannabis users do not experience significant negative effects in terms of basic indicators of overall health. However, we must keep in mind that assessing the specific effects of cannabis use on health is difficult, as health is a very complex construct that is affected by many variables.

(Featured image by RODNAE Productions via Pexels)

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First published in Fakty Konopne, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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