Medical cannabis use by older adults is increasing – this study sought (among other things) to determine the prevalence of adverse events.
Conducted by researchers from Canopy Growth and Santé Cannabis, the study looked at licensing patterns, safety and effects of medical cannabis in older adults 65 years of age or older. The majority of patients had no prior history of cannabis use.
While outcomes were assessed at baseline and then at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, outline analyzes were limited to baseline and 3-month follow-up data due to the rate of attrition by month 6; Which was very high with a drain rate of over 85%.
The most common symptoms of medicinal cannabis use were pain (85.0%) and insomnia (4.8%). Cannabidiol (CBD) products were licensed most frequently (54%), followed by “balanced” products – those containing CBD and THC (42%), then THC dominant products (4.4%).
In terms of efficacy, a significant reduction in pain symptoms, worst pain, average pain, current pain, and pain intensity was noted.
The most frequently reported adverse events – all of which were mild – were dizziness (18.2%), nausea (9.1%), dry mouth (9.1%) and tinnitus (9.1%). No serious adverse events were reported during the 3-month follow-up period. Whether this tinnitus was present among adverse events is intriguing, and something the researchers say should undergo further investigation to determine the generalizability of this observation.
The researchers concluded:
“Overall, the results indicate that medical cannabis was safe, well tolerated, and associated with clinically meaningful reductions in pain in this sample of elderly people. However, the potential bias resulting from the higher rate of attrition of individuals means that all results should be interpreted with caution and confirmed by More rigorous studies.
Full study report has been posted In the Journal of Cannabis Research.
Canopy Growth is a cannabis company based in Ontario, Canada. Santé Cannabis, also based in Canada, describes itself as the link between health, society and research into medical cannabis.