A recent study conducted by LVR University Hospital Essen, in collaboration with Algea Care, Europe’s leading telemedicine platform for patients using medical cannabis, revealed groundbreaking results on the effectiveness of medical cannabis in the treatment of chronic depression.
These results have a significant impact on the approach to treatment of this disease, offering new perspectives and solutions for patients suffering from chronic depression.
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The study, published in the renowned journal Pharmacopsychiatry, was a retrospective, long-term (18 weeks) study of 59 patients with chronic depression who did not achieve positive effects of treatment with traditional antidepressants.
Patients received medical cannabis flowers via the Algea Care telemedicine platform. This study focused on assessing the effectiveness of medical cannabis as an alternative treatment, taking into account both reducing the severity of depression symptoms and monitoring possible side effects.
The study results were promising. The average depression severity score among study participants, measured on a scale from 0 to 10, was initially 6.9 points. After six weeks of medical cannabis use, the average score dropped to 5.1 points, and after twelve weeks – to 4.1 points.
After 18 weeks of treatment, the average value decreased to 3.8 points. Importantly, in 14 patients (23.7%), the severity of depression was halved after just six weeks of therapy. These results indicate a significant and statistically significant improvement in the medically documented severity of depression among patients.
Statistics and patient reactions
The patients participating in the study were between 20 and 54 years old, and 72.9% of them were men. Importantly, one-third reported regular cannabis use over the past five years.
The dropout rate was 22% after 18 weeks, which is comparable to clinical trials of antidepressants. An important aspect is the fact that 50.8% of patients reported a response to treatment (over 50% reduction in the initial result) after 18 weeks of therapy.
Side effects and safety
Although one-third of patients reported side effects, all side effects were classified as mild. The most frequently mentioned symptoms were dry mouth, dry eyes and increased appetite (6.8% of patients each).
A smaller group (3.4%) reported difficulty concentrating, fatigue or disorientation. It is important to emphasize that no serious side effects, such as psychosis, were observed, and the research team confirmed the safety of medical use of cannabis.
This groundbreaking study sheds new light on the potential effectiveness of medical cannabis in treating chronic depression. The results, which showed significant improvement in the severity of depression without serious side effects, are extremely promising.
Nevertheless, the study authors emphasize the need for further research – in particular, prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials with a larger study group – to obtain reliable treatment recommendations. These preliminary results open up new possibilities in the treatment of mental disorders, while also laying the foundation for future research into the impact of cannabis therapy on a variety of mental conditions and diseases.
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First published in FaktyKonopne. A third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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