A study involving patients enrolled in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry has indicated improved outcomes for chronic pain patients consuming inhaled dried cannabis flower and/or sublingual/orally administered oils.
The UK Medical Cannabis Registry contains data based on what is claimed to be the largest group of patients in the UK treated with medical cannabis for a range of conditions. Data captured includes prescribed formulations, adverse events, and patient-reported outcomes. The anonymised data is made available on request to the medical community for analysis.
A number of studies have already occurred based on registry data. A new study performed by researchers from Imperial College Medical Cannabis Research Group and Sapphire Medical Clinics looked at 348, 36 and 377 patients treated with oils, dried flower, or both, respectively. Primary outcomes were changes in validated patient reported outcome measures at 1, 3, and 6 months compared to baseline.
Patients treated with oils or combination therapy generally recorded improvements within health-related quality of life, pain, and sleep-specific outcomes at all stages, while patients treated with combination therapy recorded improvements in anxiety-specific outcomes.
A drop in opioid prescriptions after 6 months compared to baseline was also observed – a 3.28% reduction in mean opioid dose.
While 1,273 adverse events were recorded, 387 were described as mild, 360 moderate, 109 severe and just 1 considered life-threatening. “Cannabis naïve and ex-users” were more likely to experience adverse events compared to current users.
Among their conclusions the researchers stated:
“In summary, these results suggest that both oil-based and dried flower CBMPs* are associated with long-term improved HRQoL* in chronic pain patients, in agreement with both our hypothesis and existing literature investigating short-term outcomes.”
Importantly, the researchers also noted placebo-controlled trials are still necessary to establish the efficacy and safety of CBMPs for chronic pain.
The fully study, published in the Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, can be viewed here.
* CBMP: Cannabis-based medicinal products | HRQoL: Health-related quality of life