Medical cannabis may provide relief of chronic pain, sleep disorders, neuropathy, and anxiety in older adults, according to preliminary results presented a the recent American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting. Researchers looked at 204 people, with an average age of 81, who were enrolled in New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program for approximately 4 months. Participants received various ratios of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to cannabidiol (CBD) as a liquid extract tincture or capsule, or in an electronic vaporizer. Nearly 70% of the participants reported symptom relief; the most common conditions that improved were chronic pain (49%), sleep problems (18%), neuropathy (15%), and anxiety (10%). Opioid pain medication was reduced in a third of the patients who received cannabis.
The most common side effects were sleepiness (13%), balance problems (7%), and gastrointestinal disturbances (7%). Only 3% of the participants stopped taking the medical marijuana due to the side effects. Researchers said a ratio of 1-to-1 THC to CBD was the most common preparation used among people who reported no side effects. Overall, cannabis appeared effective and well tolerated. The authors noted that “future research should focus on symptoms like sleepiness and balance problems, as well as optimal dosing