Preliminary assessment of medical cannabis consumption by cancer survivors

Complementary Therapies in Medicine “Objectives: To assess the motivation of cancer survivors to consume medical cannabis and to assess the patterns of use, perceived efficacy, as well as side and adverse effects.

Results: The mean monthly dosage of cannabis consumed was 42.4 grams; 95.8% of respondents reported not consuming cannabis regularly before being diagnosed with cancer; the most common way of administration was smoking, and most of the participants reported taking cannabis throughout the day. The most common symptoms for which participants took medical cannabis were pain (n = 169, 88.9%), sleeping disorder (n = 144, 75.8%) and anxiety (n = 79, 41.6%). Twenty patients (10.5%) reported on mild side (or adverse) effects.

Conclusions: This study indicates that cancer survivors may indeed consume cannabis for symptom relief, and not merely for recreational purposes. Although our findings point to perceived safety and efficacy of medical cannabis for cancer survivors, more research is needed to study the adequate role that cannabis may have for treating symptoms associated with cancer survivorship.”

“In conclusion, despite the many challenges and uncertainties, cannabis is being slowly diffused into healthcare. Survivors who have ongoing symptoms as a result of their prior treatments should be carefully assessed as to whether there is a medical need for which cannabis may be helpful. Indeed, patients and physicians should establish and maintain a therapeutic alliance in which medical needs and potential treatments, including medical cannabis, are honestly discussed and mutually considered and agreed upon.”

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