CJ ArlottaCJ Arlotta Contributor

I cover end-of-life care and dabble in the culture of medicine.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Even if some experts believe more research on the effectiveness of medical cannabis is needed, users undergoing the controversial treatment believe it works – at least for certain conditions.

A little more than 75% of users said they use medical cannabis because other treatments aren’t as effective or cause too many side effects, or both, according to the results of a survey conducted byPatientsLikeMe. The patient-powered search network didn’t ask participants any further questions about past treatments.

Sally Okun, vice president of Advocacy, Policy, and Patient Safety at PatientsLikeMe, told Forbes that even though the survey didn’t ask respondents about previous treatments, it’s safe to infer things from the data or prior research.

“For example we know multiple sclerosis has a host of disease modifying treatments,” she said. “While we don’t expect people will replace them with medical marijuana, they may be using marijuana to manage associated symptoms that disease modifying treatments such as Baclofen don’t address, including stiffness and spasticity.”

She continued: “From prior research we also know that patients living with fibromyalgia experience many problems with sleep, so we might presume that these patients tried marijuana after trying other sleep aids. We also know that people with depression often have other mental and physical symptoms such as anxiety or back pain, or both.”


Using medical cannabis assists with treating pain, muscle stiffness or spasm, insomnia and anxiety, the survey found. Another reason why users prefer this drug is because they believe it’s more natural.

Okun said the top five conditions represented in the survey were multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“The respondents are living with a variety of conditions — in all 70 different primary conditions,” she said.


Source credit; http://www.forbes.com/sites/cjarlotta/2015/07/22/medical-cannabis-users-believe-drugs-effectiveness-is-greater-than-other-treatments/