Study: Cannabis Use “Does Not Have a Negative Impact on Public Health”

Cannabis use “does not have a negative impact on public health in a manner detectable using health indicators”, finds a new peer-reviewed study.

Conducted by researchers at the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, both in España, and the Autonomous University of Madrid, all in Spain, the study was published in the December issue of the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoids Research, and was published online by the National Library of Medicine.

Despite a growing number of countries legalizing marijuana, researchers note that “there is a lack of information on the impact of regular consumption of this substance on public health.” In this study, “for the first time, regular cannabis consumers in Spain were assessed using health indicators, comparing these data with the general population.”

For the study “various items of the Enquesta de Salut de Catalunya (ESCA) and other items related to cannabis use were selected to build a survey and administer it to a representative sample of regular cannabis users in Catalonia.”

The study found that “most of the indicators did not show any deterioration in the health of regular cannabis users compared with the general population.”

It was observed that users “suffered from more sleep problems and about 40% of the sample would like to discontinue cannabis use, suggesting a dependence pattern.” About 30% of the sample was able to discontinue the use of prescription medications because of cannabis.

The study concludes: “It seems that regular cannabis use, despite contributing to problems related to sleep quality or dependence, does not have a negative impact on public health in a manner detectable using health indicators.”

The study’s full abstract can be found below.

Abstract

Background and Objective: An increasing number of countries are deciding to regulate the medicinal and/or recreational use of cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.). However, there is a lack of information on the impact of regular consumption of this substance on public health. In this study, for the first time, regular cannabis consumers in Spain were assessed using health indicators, comparing these data with the general population. Methods: Various items of the Enquesta de Salut de Catalunya (ESCA) and other items related to cannabis use were selected to build a survey and administer it to a representative sample of regular cannabis users in Catalonia. Results: Most of the indicators did not show any deterioration in the health of regular cannabis users compared with the general population. It was observed that users suffered from more sleep problems and about 40% of the sample would like to discontinue cannabis use, suggesting a dependence pattern. About 30% of the sample was able to discontinue the use of prescription medications because of cannabis. Social support and sleep problems, and not cannabis use, were predictors of depression and well-being scores. Conclusions: It seems that regular cannabis use, despite contributing to problems related to sleep quality or dependence, does not have a negative impact on public health in a manner detectable using health indicators.