A new research has found that medical use of cannabis provides relief for dozens of health symptoms with relatively minimal negative side effects.
According to the research, using cannabis for medical purposes can replace a wide range of traditional medicines and reduce medical costs.
Researchers at the University of New Mexico (UNM) relied on a new mobile application technology, Releaf App, to obtain data.
The app is currently the largest source of user-entered information on the consumption and effects of cannabis in the US, with nearly 100,000 recorded users.
The findings are contained in two recent studies titled, Patient-Reported Symptom Relief Following Medical Cannabis Consumption and Effectiveness of Raw, Natural Medical Cannabis Flower for Treating Insomnia under Naturalistic Conditions.
It has been published in two journals: Frontiers in Pharmacology and Medicines.
Researchers Jacob Miguel Vigil and Sarah See Stith of UNM found that patients experienced significant benefits when they used cannabis for conditions ranging from chronic pain to insomnia.
They defended using data from a cannabis users app as opposed to random samples.
“Observational studies are more appropriate than experimental research in measuring how patients choose to consume cannabis and the effects of those choices,” said Prof Vigil.
He said by collecting large amounts of patient-entered information on actual cannabis used under real-life circumstances, the researchers were able to measure why patients consumed the drug, the type they used, and the immediate and long-term effects.
“In other words, many of the important and practical research questions that other trials fail to address,” said Vigil.
Cannabis has been studied as a potential treatment for a wide range of medical conditions, from post-traumatic stress disorder to cancer.
However, the most consistent results have emerged from tests on its support for the treatment of chronic pain, epilepsy and stiff muscles.
The two studies are among the first to measure how cannabis consumed by millions of people in the US every day is likely to affect different types of health conditions.
One of the most striking patterns in the current results was the breadth of symptoms that appeared to improve following cannabis consumption.
More than 94 per cent of cannabis users reported reduced intensity of symptoms after using self-administered cannabis use.
“The medicinal potential of this concept and practical application for treating so many and seemingly diverse health conditions is unlike that of any other single medication currently known to exist,” states Vigil.
In addition to health benefits, the studies also showed that cannabis use is associated with generally non-serious side effects.
The most frequently reported side effects included feeling paranoid and confused as well as headaches.