Study Details Benefits, Therapeutic Effects of Medical Marijuana on Patients’ Quality of Life


The study is the first of 5 studies co-published by AYR Wellness and LECOM and showcases improvements in physical, social, and mental well-being with minimal AEs.

Medical marijuana prescription -- Image credit: Africa Studio |

Image credit: Africa Studio |

In the Journal of Medical Cannabis & Cannabinoids, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and AYR Wellness Inc (AYR) published their research examining how medically-approved marijuana can influence a patient’s physical, social, and mental well-being. According to the study’s findings, patients reported experiencing a significant improvement in their physical, social, and emotional well-being as well as energy levels within the first 30 days of being treated with medically-approved marijuana.

According to a press release, this study is the first of the partnership to be published, with 4 additional studies analyzing cannabis’s medical capabilities planned in the future. In addition, the AYR and LECOM co-hosted the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program Research Summit in Erie, Pennsylvania on April 15, 2024.1

The prospective, observational cohort study enrolled 103 participants of at least 18 years of age to determine their physical, social, and mental well-being when using medically-approved marijuana. The study had a duration of 90 days and participants were instructed to take electronic surveys every 30 days to track their medical marijuana use and overall quality of life. In addition, study participants were asked to record any adverse effects (AEs) they experienced and believed were related to marijuana use (eg, fast heart rate, dizziness, anxiety, hallucinations, difficulties when problem solving). The population also had to report whether they regularly consumed alcohol or used tobacco products for at least half of the study period, including at least once within the first 30 days.1,2

The survey results indicated a significant increase in participants’ overall general health (Wilcoxon z = −2.34, p = 0.019, r = −0.23) and pain levels significantly declined throughout the 30- to 60-day time period (Wilcoxon z = −2.41, p = 0.016, r = −0.24). Further, the largest increase in general health was observed in those who consumed medical marijuana once per day compared with twice per day, 3 or 4 times per day, or 5 times per day; however, the researchers note needing more data to confirm whether this difference is present because of the small sample size of once per day users (n = 8).1,2

Patients had also reported experiencing reduced levels of pain, fatigue, and emotional limitations. In addition, those who reported alcohol use within the first 30 days had reported using medical marijuana less frequently and experienced lower energy and emotional well-being, with mean score increases of 2.73 and 0.95, respectively, compared with those who did not drink alcohol, who had mean scores of 8.85 and 7.5, respectively. The researchers found that the amount and frequency of alcohol consumed did not appear to have an effect.2

Study participants who used medical marijuana as a method of treating opioid addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder had consumed a higher amount of THC, with medians of 69.3% and 63.58%, respectively, compared with those who treating anxiety (47.2%), chronic pain (44.9%), and inflammatory bowel disease (29.2%). The most common reported AEs in participants were dry mouth (75.7%), increased appetite (69.9%), and cough (61.2%), and these did not differ significantly between modes of administration or frequency.2

AYP and LECOM note that the study results can help further destigmatize the use of medical marijuana, noting that the 90-day study demonstrates the positive impact it can have on the lives of patients. Additionally, they urge investigators to conduct additional research to further showcase the medical efficacy of marijuana while also gaining a stronger understanding of the additional benefits and long-term effects it can have on patients.1

“We are also deeply invested in expanding our knowledge of how the cannabis plant can benefit the lives of patients and customers,” said Marla Bowie, PharmD, MPH, director of patient and customer care at AYR, in a press release.1 "As we continue to partner with LECOM to conduct medical studies and publish additional papers, AYR is eager to emphasize the known capabilities of the plant and discover new ways in which it can impact medicine."

1. AYR Wellness. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) & AYR Wellness Partner to Publish Medical Research Paper Detailing ‘Quality of Life’ Benefits of Medical Marijuana. News release. April 11, 2024. Accessed April 12, 2024. Email.
2. Kelley, MD, Obaid, M, Miller, EM, Bowie, M, Heeter, ZS. Observational Analysis of the Influence of Medical Marijuana Use on Quality of Life in Patients. Med Cannabis Cannabinoids. 29 January 2024; 7(1): 44–50 doi:10.1159/000536591
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