A world-first Israeli study of medical cannabis users has found the vast majority of patients have reported their treatments to be beneficial.
Unveiled at the Sixth International Jerusalem Conference on Health Policy and led by Professor Pesach Shvartzman of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Health Sciences Faculty, the study found patients reported their pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, appetite and general sense of well-being had improved.
A few slides from the “Health Utilization and Characterization of Patients Using Medical Cannabis in Israel” presentation can be viewed here (PowerPoint).
JPost reports 99.6% of the study’s participants sought out medical cannabis after taking conventional medications that were not effective – and more than half due to previous drugs causing side effects.
While patients reported cannabis produced side effects, less than 10% stopped using it after the first interview and just 6% after the second interview due to side effects and/or because the treatment was not effective.
The most commonly reported side effects were dry mouth (60.6%) and hunger (60%).
213 patients were interviewed in total, with 65 of those being cancer patients. 42% of the participants overall had been recommended medical cannabis by their doctors.
The motivation for the study was simple.
“We couldn’t find any similar study in the world,” said Professor Shvartzman back in 2014, prior to commencement “It’s a rapidly growing business and we need to know what we’re doing to our patients when we give them cannabis.”
Medicinal cannabis is playing an increasingly important role in Israeli health.
In January this year, Israel’s Health Minister said it may only be six months before general practitioners in the country will be permitted to prescribe medical marijuana. While medical cannabis is available in the country, gaining permission has been somewhat of an administrative nightmare.
Even with so much red tape in place, there are already tens of thousands of patients using cannabis medically in the country; a significant figure given the population of Israel is around 8 million.
Further information on Israel’s medicinal marijuana program as it currently stands can be viewed here.