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Study Finds That Cannabis Reduces Pain And Depression In Elderly Patients

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Chronic pain and depression are two of the most common health conditions found around the globe. Researchers estimate that roughly 1.5 billion people around the world suffer from chronic pain to some degree.

Additionally, it is estimated that more than 280 million people suffer from some level of depression globally. Obviously, there is some level of overlap between the two groups, with many people suffering from both chronic pain and depression.

Elderly patients are much more likely to suffer from one or both of the conditions. Fortunately, a recent study found that the use of medical cannabis products is associated with symptom reductions in elderly patients experiencing pain and/or depression. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Tel Aviv, Israel: The sustained use of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products is associated with significant reductions in pain, depression, and opioid use among elderly patients, according to observational data published in the journal Biomedicines.

Israeli investigators assessed self-reported outcomes in a cohort of 119 elderly (mean age: 79) patients prescribed medical cannabis products. (Israeli law permits qualified patients to access state-regulated cannabis products, and an estimated 100,000 Israelis are currently authorized to use them.) Most of the study’s participants suffered from chronic pain and consumed cannabis via tinctures. Subjects utilized cannabis products for at least six months.

Authors reported that medical cannabis use was associated with clinically significant reductions in patients’ chronic pain scores. They also reported that patients reduced their use of opioids by nearly half following cannabis treatment – a finding consistent with other studies.

Cannabis use was also associated with reduced symptoms of depression and overall improvements in patients’ daily living, especially among those over the age of 80. The latter finding is consistent with several prior studies reporting health-related quality of life improvements among older adults who initiate cannabis treatment.

Researchers concluded: “Cannabis contributes to the amelioration of depressive symptoms …while also achieving discernible pain alleviation. … Our findings also demonstrate the relatively favorable safety profile of cannabis therapy” in the elderly patient population.

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis is not associated with a decrease in activities of daily living in older adults,” appears in Biomedicines. Additional information is available from the NORML Fact Sheet, ‘Cannabis Use by Older Adult Populations.’