Reducing the Burden on NHS – Prescription Cannabis  

A study has revealed that medical cannabis patients use fewer healthcare resources and report improved quality of life.

To date, there has been minimal research conducted on whether medical cannabis patients in the have perceived or actual health benefits from the medicine. 

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine have surveyed patients to investigate, finding that they reported less pain, better sleep, and reduced anxiety, contributing to an overall better quality of life.

The patients also reported taking fewer prescription medications and were less likely to have visited an emergency room or have been admitted to a hospital than people who didn’t use cannabis for medical purposes – showing that cannabis patients put less strain on healthcare resources.

The study has been published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research-

The researchers report that because this early work shows medical benefits for cannabis, more funding and clinical trials are urgently needed to determine what conditions the drug may treat.

Ryan Vandrey, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said: “It wasn’t surprising to me that people claim to feel better when using medical cannabis, but it was unexpected to see that these people utilised less health care resources.

“When we evaluated people before and after using medical cannabis, and then saw the exact same changes seen in the cross-sectional comparison between cannabis users and controls, that’s when we knew we had a compelling validation showing actual medical benefit.”

Results from the study showed that medical cannabis patients reported about an 8% better quality of life, 9% reduction in pain scores, and a 12% reduction in anxiety scores.

Medical cannabis patients also reported using 14% fewer prescription medications, that they were 39% less likely to have visited an emergency room, and 46% less likely to have been admitted to a hospital in the month before being surveyed. Vandrey added: “This study was a 30,000-foot view of the landscape and now we need to drill down to see what conditions are actually benefitted from medical cannabis use.”

Vandrey and colleagues will now study the effects of medical cannabis on epilepsy, anxiety disorders, and autism.


Medical cannabis patients demonstrate a trend of reduced reliance on traditional healthcare resources. Studies indicate that individuals using medical cannabis for conditions like chronic pain or nausea associated with treatments require fewer hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and outpatient services. The therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids in cannabis seem to contribute to better symptom management, leading to improved overall well-being and a decreased need for conventional medical interventions. While more research is needed, these findings suggest a potential for medical cannabis to contribute to more efficient use of healthcare resources.

The time is now to call for Research, Research, Research.

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