Increased medical knowledge and changes in social norms have meant that over the last decade attitudes towards medical cannabis have changed exponentially. After speaking to clinicians and patients studies have concluded that while it may have once been taboo, medical cannabis is now believed to be a legitimate medical therapy by some. It may be much more accepted but few studies have looked into how patients use medical cannabis and whether men and women see it differently. A new study has found that a significant number of women would use cannabis to treat chronic conditions and pain.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Women’s Health assessed the gendered attitudes patients have towards medical cannabis. It found that after obtaining a medical cannabis card women are more likely to cut down or discontinue using prescribed medication and medical assistance. The study was supported by research that suggested that while men are more likely to be experienced cannabis users more generally, women are more likely to substitute prescribed medications and painkillers for medical cannabis.
Cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis. Research has suggested that they could be a great painkiller. PMS and PMDD, endometriosis and some gynecological cancers are some of the conditions which can cause intimate and pelvic chronic pain. The study revealed that a substantial number of women would be open to using medical cannabis to treat pain, especially if they’d used it before.
It’s not completely clear as to why women are more likely to swap out prescribed medication for medical cannabis. However, past research has found that women engage with complementary or alternative medicine differently to men. Women are more likely to access preventative services, use alternative medicine to treat pain, mental health conditions or insomnia and for headaches and migraines. As medical cannabis has increasingly been seen as a safe and legitimate treatment and news of the opioid crisis has spread it may now fall under the category of complementary or alternative medicine.
The researchers wrote, “the implication that women may conceptualize medical cannabis as complementary or alternative medicine merits further research, as this finding may be viewed as a consequence of patient experience with cannabis, and not only of shifting public attitudes toward it.”
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Over the last few years, activists and campaigners have worked to get medical cannabis recognized as a legitimate treatment option. Statistics would suggest that in July 2020 Oklahoma, California and Maine had the highest percentages of medical marijuana patients.
Research has shown that the number of people who believe cannabis has valid medical uses is growing. One study highlighted that women who experience chronic pain as a result of PMS or PMDD saw positive results after using medical cannabis. Similarly, tests have looked into how medical cannabis may help endometriosis sufferers manage their pain.
However, the debate surrounding medical cannabis remains controversial. For as many people that support it, there are others who highlight the side effects of cannabis. Studies have looked into how it can impair your cognitive ability and short-term memory. If smoked it can also damage your lung tissue. However, there is a consensus that more research needs to be done into the usage of medical cannabis.