In a recent study at the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service (ICEERS), Barcelona, Spain, a sample of 419 regular Cannabis users were recruited to answer a public health survey. The participants, those who had used Cannabis at least once in the past 30 days, were compared to the general population in Catalan, Spain.
Regular users of Cannabis had better perception of health, BMI, cholesterol/blood pressure values, less presence of chronic diseases, and less physical limitations in day-to-day activities. Concerning nutrition and exercise, Cannabis users reported eating slightly more vegetables, and riding their bicycle more than the general population.
These results contradict a World Health Organization report that attempts to establish a causal relationship between Cannabis use and poor health outcomes. Prior reports also appear to indicate that regular Cannabis use produces more psychiatric symptoms, including depression, produces chronic and acute bronchitis, and triggers myocardial infarction or stroke among other issues. These results were not apparent in this Catalan sample of respondents. Rather, the cohort of regular Cannabis users reduced health care visits (25%) and reduced their use of prescription drugs (32%).
In this study, regular Cannabis users scored better than the general population on a list of health indicators. These results were obtained using validated health indicators, especially designed and used by several governments to assess population health and compare this information between countries or specific populations. Additionally, regular Cannabis users showed potential Cannabis dependence, suggesting that sustained use of cannabis for years might be associated with a risk of developing such dependence. Although 40% of regular Cannabis users wanted to discontinue Cannabis and expressed some association with sleep problems, the overall conclusion was not poor health. These findings suggest that regular Cannabis use might play a favorable role in public health, However, health behaviors and complex variables other than Cannabis use are more likely to effect public health.
Jean Talleyrand, M.D.,