Study: Plant-Derived Cannabis Oils Effective for Symptom Management in Older Patients with Treatment-Resistant Neurological Diseases

Sydney, Australia: The use of plant-derived cannabis oils containing balanced ratios of THC and CBD is generally safe and effective for patients suffering from neurological diseases, according to observational trial data published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Australian researchers assessed the sustained use of cannabis extracts in 157 patients with treatment-resistant neurological, musculoskeletal, autoimmune, or anti-inflammatory disorders. (Under Australian law, physicians may only authorize medical cannabis to patients that have been unresponsive to conventional prescription treatments.)

Investigators reported that patients age 65 or older and/or those suffering from neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, and multiple sclerosis, perceived the greatest overall benefits from cannabis therapy. Their findings are consistent with those of several other studies reporting health-related quality of life benefits among older patients who consume cannabis.

Subjects were most likely to report cannabis to be effective for improving sleep and for reducing pain – findings that are consistent with other studies. By contrast, patients suffering from spondylosis were least likely to perceive benefits from cannabis therapy.

Authors concluded: “This retrospective medical record review describes the population characteristics of patients using medicinal cannabis at a clinic in Sydney, Australia and provides data on the effectiveness and safety of medicinal cannabis treatment on patient conditions and indications. … [Its findings] indicate that medicinal cannabis, in a balanced formulation, may address a variety of non-cancer conditions and indications concurrently and can be safely prescribed by a medical doctor.”

Full text of the study, “A retrospective medical record review of adults with non-cancer diagnoses prescribed medical cannabis,” appears in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. Additional information on cannabis use among older populations is available from NORML Fact Sheet ‘Cannabis Use by Older Populations.’

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