Introduction - Scientific Study: Cannabis: Health and Quality of Life in Medicinal Users

By José Carlos Bouso

José Carlos Bouso is a clinical psychologist and a doctor of pharmacology. His areas of interest are psychopharmacology and the therapeutic properties of entactogens, psychedelics and cannabis. He has conducted therapeutic research with MDMA, pharmacological research with several substances of plant and synthetic origin and has also performed studies on the long-term neuropsychological effects of substances such as cannabis, ayahuasca and cocaine. He is author of the book "Qué son las drogas de síntesis" [What are synthetic drugs?], and co-author of “¿La marihuana como medicamento? Los usos médicos y terapéuticos del cannabis y los cannabinoides" [Marihuana as medicine? The medical and therapeutic uses of cannabis and cannabinoids] and "Ayahuasca y salud" [Ayahuasca and health]. His research has been published in scientific journals. He is currently the director of scientific projects at Fundación ICEERS.

Starting this year, ICEERS, in collaboration with IMIM, has begun their study "The quality of life in medicinal users." The study will last for three years and will be supported by Fundación CANNA.

Each quarter updates about this study will be posted on our website.

The use of Cannabis is more accepted and extended in our society every day. However, there is a great need for more objective studies about its physiological and psychological effects, and its therapeutic potential. The Cannabis Associations are a pioneering regulation model in the world which offers a great opportunity to facilitate this type of research.

What is ICEERS?

The International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research & Service (ICEERS) is a charitable non-profit organization dedicated to:

  • The integration of ayahuasca, iboga and other traditional plants as therapeutic tools in modern society.
  • The study and promotion of public policy based on scientific evidence and human rights.
  • The preservation of the indigenous cultures that have been using these plant species since antiquity on, their habitat and botanical resources.

Objectives of the study

  1. Follow-up on the quality of life of the users, as well as on the subjective perception of the effects of Cannabis on their symptomatology.
  2. Evaluate the impact of the cannabinoid composition of the used Cannabis on the mental health and cognitive function of the users.

Methodology

Sample: 200 medicinal members of Cannabis associations who have chronic illnesses.

  • Admission by means of a basic intake questionnaire and informed consent.
  • Assignation of an access code to each participant for the online questionnaires.
  • At 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, and 36 months, the participants respond online using internationally- validated questionnaires:
  • A specific questionnaire corresponding to the participants’ chronic illness.
  • A hair sample is collected during each assessment in order to determine the presence of cannabinoids.

Collaborator

Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques (IMIM), Barcelona.

Publications and Dissemination

  • Articles in scientific journals
  • A yearly report on the preliminary results
  • Presentation of the results in conferences, public institutions, events, etc.
  • Articles for magazines, blogs, social networks, and other forms of media to disseminate the findings of the study to the general public.

Expected benefits of the study

  • The advancement of scientific knowledge on the effects of Cannabis on certain illnesses and potential new therapeutic applications
  • This study will give visibility to the social component of the activities of the Cannabis associations
  • The participants will gain a better understanding of the influence of Cannabis on the process of their illness
  • This study will facilitate better service provision of the Cannabis associations towards their therapeutic members
  • With the cooperation with scientific institutions, the Cannabis associations demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility
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