Motivated by the social and educational role that good health professionals must fulfill, nursing students Tamara Albertazzo, Pamela Carrasco, María José Figueroa and Carmen Sanhueza, decided to make their nursing degree thesis subject: "Quality of life of older adults who use alternative therapies with products derived from cannabis "
This work, which makes them pioneers in research on the medicinal use of cannabis by nurses Chile, seemed interesting and was inspired by one of the missions that every health professional should have: "As nurses we have an informative task and we must provide patients with options so that they can choose the therapy that will best improve their quality of life”, said Pamela Carrasco, a member of the group that received their nursing degree this year from the Andrés Bello University.
The young women knew beforehand of the work carried out by Fundación Daya in the field of medicinal cannabis, so they decided to work together with the organization to give more weight to their research. "The Foundation does a great job with patients advising and supporting anybody interested in this alternative therapy," said Pamela.
Among the pathologies investigated, cancer was the main use, and fibromyalgia and chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, treated with cannabis oil or topical cream depending on the case. Much of the scientific support that supports the use of medicinal cannabis as a coadjuvant therapy in the aforementioned pathologies, was translated by the young women to give bibliographical support to their thesis.
One of the conclusions drawn from his work was that 56% of the cannabis users interviewed considered that their quality of life after consumption of the plant was much better; 41% said they felt better and only 3% the same as before. None of the patients indicated that their quality of life had worsened.
In their research, they observed that there was indeed an improvement in the quality of life of the patients, not only because cannabis is a substance with less, and less harsh, side-effects, and therefore a safer substance then many traditional medicines, but because the cannabis therapy delivered at Daya Foundation also includes the family in therapy. They also noted that patients adapt the doses according to their context or health situation, becoming part of their treatment.
"We talked to patients about their situation and we realized that there was a significant change, not only at a medical or physical level, but also at a social level, since the family was also part of the therapy, transferring patients to the Foundation or cultivating at home. More than a medical bio issue, it is also a sociocultural issue”, said Carmen Sanhueza.
Grateful for the support of their guidance teacher, the work of the four young women gained a distinction both in their presentation and in their written work. Tamara Albertazzo considers that this work serves as a source of objective information for those who wish to approach the use of cannabis as medicinal therapy. "I think this will be a great contribution for health personnel and also for patients who want to have objective information about the quality of life that is obtained with this therapy”, she said.
"The acceptance of the use of alternative therapies in Chile is increasingly relevant. We realized that there is a whole universe of people who use it for medicinal purposes and we believe that it is still unknown by the population in general, "said Pamela Carrasco.