New Study Explores Medical Cannabis Use Among Canadian Veterans

Published: December 8, 2021

New Study Explores Medical Cannabis Use Among Canadian Veterans

CannCorps, an ongoing study of cannabis use among Canadian Veterans, led by researchers at McGill University has revealed some important findings after less than one month.

The online survey allows participants to anonymously describe their use of medical cannabis. Among 192 participants (65% Veterans, 27% women) to date, many individuals suffered from more than one problem. The most common medical reasons for using cannabis included: anxiety or stress (61%), post traumatic stress disorder (40%), and arthritis (36%).  Other common health issues were problems sleeping (72%) and chronic pain (67%). Overall, only 21% rated their health as excellent or very good while 44% rated it as fair or poor. Pain management was a serious issue with 58% having regular pain that was severe enough to limit their daily activities.

Most individuals used medical cannabis more than once daily (54%), or daily (33%) and common modes of administration were oils (61%) and edibles (54%) while smoking was less common (28%).A number of other solutions were being used to reduce symptoms including regular exercise, mindful relaxation and yoga, healthy eating, and massage therapy. These findings are the first to demonstrate that many Veterans are developing customized solutions to treat their chronic medical conditions.

The long-term goal of the CannCorps Study is to design and test an online health promotion program that Canadian Veterans and other medical cannabis users can incorporate into their disease management strategies to optimize the control of their symptoms. Many of the online components have been tested among thousands of Canadians during the pandemic and have been shown to improve sleep, support daily physical activity, improve eating habits, and help individuals lose unwanted weight (www.MissionVAV.com). The CannCorps participants will also be providing their experience and guidance to customize this program to the needs of medical cannabis users.

Canadians (both Veterans and non-Veterans) are welcome to participate in the anonymous questionnaire and share their experiences using medical cannabis. The online questionnaire is available at https://missionvav.com/canncorps and is anonymous. The web-based program, being developed based on the survey responses, is expected to go live in the winter 2022. It will be free, secure, and private.