Study: 24% of Cancer Patients Use Medical Marijuana, 74% Want More Info

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Study: 24% of Cancer Patients Use Medical Marijuana, 74% Want More Info

According to a new study published in the journal Cancer, nearly one in four cancer patients have consumed medical marijuana in the past year, with more than one in five having consumed it in the past month.

“Cannabis is purported to alleviate symptoms related to cancer treatment, although the patterns of use among cancer patients are not well known”, states the study’s abstract. “This study was designed to determine the prevalence and methods of use among cancer patients, the perceived benefits, and the sources of information in a state with legalized cannabis.”

For the study, “A cross-sectional, anonymous survey of adult cancer patients was performed at a National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center in Washington State. Random urine samples for tetrahydrocannabinol provided survey validation.”

926 cancer patients completed the survey, with a median age of 58 years. “Most had a strong interest in learning about cannabis during treatment”, with 74% wanting “information from cancer providers.”

Previous cannabis use was common (66%), 24% used cannabis in the last year, and 21% used cannabis in the last month.” Researchers state that; “Random urine samples found similar percentages of users who reported weekly use (27 of 193 [14%] vs 164 of 926 [18%]). Active users inhaled (153 of 220 [70%]) or consumed edibles (154 of 220 [70%]); 89 (40%) used both modalities.” Cannabis was used primarily for “physical (165 of 219 [75%]) and neuropsychiatric symptoms (139 of 219 [63%]).” Legalization significantly increased the likelihood of use in more than half of the respondents.

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Researchers conclude by stating; “This study of cancer patients in a state with legalized cannabis found high rates of active use across broad subgroups, and legalization was reported to be important in patients’ decision to use. Cancer patients desire but are not receiving information about cannabis use during their treatment from oncology providers.”

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