HomeNewsPreliminary QUEST Initiative Study Results Released

Preliminary QUEST Initiative Study Results Released

A major Australian multicenter study has indicated medicinal cannabis is providing health related quality of life (HRQL) and other benefits for patients.

The Australian Government backed QUEST* Initiative involved 2762 participants who had been prescribed medicinal cannabis between November 2020 and December 2021 across six Australian states. As well as HRQL, the study assessed impact of medicinal cannabis use on pain, fatigue, sleep, anxiety, and depression.

The most commonly treated conditions were:

  • chronic pain:  68.7%
  • insomnia: 22.9%
  • generalized anxiety:  21.5%
  • mixed anxiety and depression 11%

Half of participants were prescribed medical cannabis for more than one health condition. The researchers hypothesized all patient-reported outcomes would improve from baseline to 3-months.

Across the whole cohort, clinically meaningful improvement in HRQL and in fatigue were observed,  a meaningful reduction of pain among those with chronic pain and significant improvements for those with moderate to extremely severe anxiety and depression. In terms of sleep, there was no evidence of statistically significant or clinically meaningful change in mean Sleep T-scores over time.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) ratios in medicines consumed (all oils) varied between participants, and some used medicines containing no THC – only CBD. Dosage levels also varied.

The study continued to follow-up with patients until the 12-month mark to determine whether improvements in patient-reported outcomes were maintained long-term – these results are yet to be published.

“In addition, further subgroup analyses will be undertaken to determine whether patients with specific health conditions have better outcomes compared with others when using validated condition-specific questionnaires,” state the study’s authors. “The findings from this study contribute to the ongoing evidence for decision making both in clinical practice and at policy level.”

Results of the study have been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Following on from the QUEST Initiative, last month Western Australia’s Curtin University announced the launch of QUEST Global. This study will investigate if medicinal cannabis is reducing the economic impact of chronic disease through reduction of medications and healthcare services a patient requires.

To be conducted over 5 years, patients living with one of 200 chronic conditions may be eligible to participate. Those participating will be required to purchase medicines supplied by local company Little Green Pharma; albeit at a reduced cost.

*QUEST stands for QUality of life Evaluation STudy

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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