The use of medical cannabis is growing rapidly, but there have only been small studies on the safety and efficacy of the drug in older people.
In a paper in the European Journal of Internal Medicine (2 February 2018), researchers studied 2,736 patients aged 65 years and over who were prescribed medical cannabis at a specialised clinic in Israel
. The most common indications were for pain (66.6%) and cancer (60.8%).
After six months of treatment, 93.7% of questionnaire respondents said their condition had improved and pain was reduced from a median of eight to four on a scale of ten. Overall, 18.1% said they had stopped or reduced their dose of opioid analgesics. The most common adverse events were dizziness (9.7%) and dry mouth (7.1%).
The researchers said the findings supported the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis in older people, and could allow reductions in the use of other prescription medicines, such as opioids.