A survey administered to military veterans over a nine-month period concluded that their Cannabis use improved their quality of life and reduced their medication use. It’s estimated that twenty percent of 19 million US Veterans have a mental illness or substance use disorder. Included are veterans with depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
This study analyzed survey data from 510 US military participants. The researchers were from the Cannabis Center of Excellence, the University of Utah, and the University of Massachusetts,
There are two general approaches to research. The first applies inductive rationale to develop a hypothesis. You might remember 7th grade science when you were given two different chemical substances and asked to write down your observations. Both substances were white, but one was powdery and clumped with moisture the other was crystal-like and dissolved with moisture. You used your inductive rationale or power of observation to determine that the chemicals were different. Observational studies develop theories or hypotheses.
The second approach to research applies deductive rationale to test the hypothesis developed from the first approach. You might have hypothesized that the chemical substances tasted different and then put a little in your mouth. One substance tasted like flour and the other tasted like sugar, proving your hypothesis.
Cannabis research is much the same. Most scientist are applying inductive rationale or observational study to develop theories. As Cannabis products become more accessible, future studies will test the hypotheses using clinical trials. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) currently restricts access to Cannabis for clinical trials.
In this inductive observational study, 91% of those surveyed reported that Cannabis use improve their quality of life. 80% had fewer psychological symptoms and 73% had fewer physical symptoms. Furthermore, 21% reported using fewer opiates, 30% used fewer over the counter medicines, and 25% had reduced their anti-depressants. Regarding lifestyle, 46% reported consuming less alcohol and 24% less tobacco.
Even to a 7th grade scientist, the hypothesis or theory should be clear. It’s been demonstrated on the molecular level how cannabinoids, one of the active ingredients in Cannabis, might reduce pain or improve moods. This study concludes that Cannabis use is associated improved quality of life and fewer mental and physical symptoms. The authors suggest that medical Cannabis use among veterans may have a role in harm reduction.
Deductive studies are the next step, where double blind, randomized controlled trials can be used to guide Cannabis dosage, safety, and efficacy.
When it comes to proving that Cannabis works as medicine, scientific studies are well on their way. Unfortunately, government regulators are lagging. Delaying rescheduling or de-scheduling of Cannabis ignores the science. What do you think? Is this the evidence that finally convinces government regulators to release the reigns on Cannabis research? Will regulators finally change the status of Cannabis under the CSA? A 7th grader would say yes.
Jean Talleyrand, M.D.,