Study Reveals Medical Cannabis Helps Improve Veterans’ Quality of Life and Reduces Prescription Drug Use

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A recent study revealed how medical cannabis improves military veterans’ quality of life and helped reduce prescription drug use.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, University of Utah, and cannabis research institutes viewed self-reported survey data from 510 veterans who use cannabis (1). The purpose of the study was to have a better understanding of the purposes for use and what they experienced each time cannabis was consumed.

More than 90% of US military veterans who consume medical cannabis mentioned that it helps improve their quality of life. Veterans are growing frustrated with needing to take several prescriptions, as well as, over-the-counter medicines which often come with side effects. With these frustrations, veterans are beginning to make the switch and try consuming cannabis to help them deal with their various health ailments, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


In the study, a majority of participants which was 67%, mentioned that they consumed cannabis daily. 30% of individuals that stated that they use cannabis to decrease their use of other medications, such as antidepressants which 25% of individuals listed as their reason and 17% listed non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Lastly, 21%mentioned that by using cannabis, they have been able to reduce using opioid-based medications (1). From the study, 91% of veteran participants reported that cannabis significantly improved their quality of life.

“Veterans who were Black, who were female, who served in active combat, and who were living with chronic pain were more likely to report a desire to reduce the number of prescription medications they were taking,” the study says (1). “Women and individuals who used cannabis daily were more likely to report active use of cannabis to reduce prescription medication use.”

The study also reported (1), “Medicinal cannabis use was reported to improve quality of life and reduce unwanted medication use by many of the study participants. The present findings indicate that medicinal cannabis can potentially play a harm-reduction role, helping veterans to use fewer pharmaceutical medications and other substances.”

Results from the study was published in June 2023 in the journal, Clinical Therapeutics (2). It was authored by Dr. Marion McNabb, Katherine A. Durante, PhD, Sarah Trocchio PhD, David J. Ritter, ADCJ, Randal MacCaffrie, Ann Brum, Stephen Mandile, and Stephen White PhD. Although the data provided was all self-reported, it did highlight and further prove how cannabis can become a tool to help veterans as seen in other studies (2-4).


  1. Jaeger, K. Medical Marijuana Improves Military Veterans’ Quality of Life and Reduces Prescription Drug Use, Study Finds (accessed Jul 28, 2023).
  2. McNabb, M.; Durante, K. A.; Trocchio, S.; Brum, A.; Mandile, S.; White, S.; Ritter, D. J.; MacCaffrie, R. Self-reported Medicinal Cannabis Use as an Alternative to Prescription and Over-the-counter Medication Use Among US Military Veterans (accessed Jul 28, 2023).
  3. McNabb, M.; Mandile, S.; Ritter, D. J.; Brum, A.; Bacon, R.; MacCaffrie, R.; Stout, D.; White, S.; Rewegan, A. N.; Tangney, E. The 2019 Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Study (accessed Jul 28, 2023).
  4. McNabb, M.; Salim, J.; Ritter, D. J.; Jones, V.; Rand, T.; White, S. iCount for Veterans: A Research Platform to Connect Veterans with Cannabis Research Studies Led by the Cannabis Center of Excellence, UMass Dartmouth, and Patriots Helping Vets (accessed Jul 28, 2023).