Research on Health-Related Quality of Life in Medical Cannabis-Using Patients
Forward by Sunil Aggarwal
In August 2012, I published an article based on my PhD research in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine which documented symptom relief and health-related quality of life in a surveyed series of medical cannabis using patients in Washington State who were recruited from a medical cannabis dispensing site and were all drawing from the same batch of herbal cannabis.
You can read the article, entitled “Prospectively Surveying Health-Related Quality of Life and Symptom Relief in a Lot-Based Sample of Medical Cannabis-Using Patients in Urban Washington State”, here and see the supplementary material here. My colleague, Dr. Jahan Marcu, contacted me soon after the publication to do an interview by email with me about the article.
I wrote up the responses to his questions, but unfortunately, due to busyness and other competing demands, the interview never made it out into the blogosphere.
Given that I am sharing my findings with Medical Marijuana 411, I thought that I would share my interview about this research. I hope you like it!
What is the scientific significance of the article?
How were the subjects sampled and surveyed?
What were some of the noteworthy findings?
Some interesting findings were that all possible state-approved qualifying diagnoses for the use of medical cannabis were found in this lot-based patient sample (n = 38), from seizure disorders to HIV. Secondly, the most frequently reported symptoms that cannabis was reported to alleviate were first and second, depression and anxiety, respectively, and third pain.
Another important finding was that the average health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in this sample of medical cannabis-using patients was on par with that seen in previously reported medical literature on chronically ill patient populations who suffer from congestive heart failure, limb loss, or major depression. The use of standard instruments to measure HRQoL made such comparisons possible. Finally, a significant proportion of the sample reported requiring assistance with their functional activities of daily living such as bathing and grooming or their instrumental activities of daily living such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping. While the follow-up rate on the take-home survey was low, a majority of respondents reported that the use of cannabis helped to maintain or improve their functionality, mainly due to improved symptom control and resultant ability to work or attend to chores.
How was the study funded?
What are the policy implications?
What’s next for me?