HomeNewsStudy: Medicinal Cannabis Improved Seniors' Well-Being

Study: Medicinal Cannabis Improved Seniors’ Well-Being

A new study has found significant improvements across all measures of well-being among older individuals using cannabis medicinally.

The use of cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) is reportedly increasing most rapidly among people aged 65+ years. But there’s still knowledge gaps on the characteristics of this segment and the effectiveness of medical cannabis used by this group.

UK researchers analysed data from T21, which is an observational registry of patients seeking medicinal cannabinoid treatment. This included self-reported ratings for quality of life, general health, mood and sleep on treatment entry and at a 3 month follow-up. In exchange for participation, T21 enabled patients to access certain qualifying medical cannabis products at a discounted price. T21 is independent of prescribers and clinics to ensure research findings aren’t inappropriately influenced by commercial interest.

The study sample comprised 198 individuals (4.7%) who were aged 65 years or older when they commenced treatment. 3-month follow up data was available for 98 individuals (4.2% of the sample).

While significant improvements were observed across all four measures of well-being for those aged 65 years or older between entry to treatment and the 3-month follow-up, improvements in sleep were more marked in younger individuals. The study also found those aged 65 years or older were more likely to be prescribed a CBD dominant or balanced oil, and less likely to receive a prescription for THC dominant flower.

Among the researchers’ conclusions:

“While the extent of improvement in quality of life and mood was less for older individuals than for those aged under 65 years, it was still substantial and, together with improvements in general health and sleep, suggests that older aged individuals may derive multiple health benefits from CBMPs.”

The researchers also stated that given evidence of older individuals being the fastest growing category for medicinal use and their frequent exclusion from clinical trials, this means there’s a growing need for real world evidence assessing the effectiveness and safety of CBMPs for older individuals.

The study has been published in the journal Drugs & Aging.

An earlier University of California San Diego School of Medicine study of seniors and medical cannabis found it was helping address the most common conditions reported – pain, insomnia and anxiety. An even earlier study suggested medical cannabis to be generally safe for seniors to use. However, another study noted rates of health care encounters among older adults with cannabis-related disorders increased from 2017 through 2022.

Gillian Jalimnson
Gillian Jalimnson is one of Hemp Gazette's staff writers and has been with us since we kicked off in 2015. Gillian sees massive potential for cannabis in areas of health, energy, building and personal care products and is intrigued by the potential for cannabidiol (CBD) as an alternative to conventional treatments. You can contact Gillian here.

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