About 25% of People with Cancer Use Marijuana, Study Says

About 25% of People with Cancer Use Marijuana, Study Says

By Staff.

Approximately 25% of cancer patients uses marijuana in the past year for mostly physical and psychological pain, says a new study published in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

The study was conducted in a cancer center in Washington, where medical and recreational marijuana is legal.  The study also found that legalization of marijuana increased the likelihood for use among patients.

Marijuana has been shown to help cancer patients manage may symptoms related to cancer, but patterns of marijuana use are not well known, which is why Steven Pergam, MD, MPH, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and his colleagues surveyed 926 patients at the Seattle Cancer Center Alliance.

The survey revealed that most patients had a strong interest in learning about marijuana during treatment and 74 percent wanted information from cancer care providers. Sixty-six percent had used marijuana in the past, 24 percent used in the last year, and 21 percent used in the last month. Most current users smoked or consumed marijuana primarily for physical symptoms (such as pain and nausea) or psychological reasons (such as coping with stress, depression, and insomnia).

The study reports that random analysis of patient urine samples showed that 14 percent had evidence of recent cannabis use, similar to the 18 percent of users who reported use within the past week.

Nearly all of the survey participants said they wanted information on marijuana from their doctors.  But most actually got their information from alternate sources.

Cancer patients desire but are not receiving information from their cancer doctors about marijuana use during their treatment, so many of them are seeking information from alternate non-scientific sources,” said Dr. Pergam.

He stressed that marijuana may be dangerous for some cancer patients or lead to unwanted side effects.

We hope that this study helps to open up the door for more studies aimed at evaluating the risks and benefits of marijuana in this population. This is important, because if we do not educate our patients about marijuana, they will continue to get their information elsewhere.”

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and over half the states in the U.S. have passed laws allowing for medical marijuana in some form. As availability and acceptance of marijuana use continue to increase, many cancer patients will have greater access to marijuana during their cancer treatment.

National Pain Report is interested in knowing if you have cancer, do you use marijuana to manage your symptoms?  Leave us a comment.

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Authored by: Staff

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. BarbaraW at 11:27 am

    Hi in answer to Bob’s comment the National Institute on Drug Abuse in cahoots I would guess with the DEA (follow the money) I called an 800 number to get CBD Oil but I had the letters wrong MBD which the owner did not carry but long story short he was the largest Marijuana dealer in Massachusetts which he had a license for. the DEA went in & seized all his assets & business closed him down all his buyers were up in arms he has numerous lawyers for trial . I asked why ? he said it is all political the DEA wants uncle Joe’s farm to harvest grow & sell because they want their cut!!!! All over America. !! Since I didn’t get my oil I have chronic pain for life & I want to know which CBD Oil is better with THC or with out if some one knows ?

  2. Scott at 12:07 pm

    They did the same thing with chronic pain sufferers that took thoer medication as directed. Because of the less then .002% of the prescriptions were abused by addicts every ither patient is suffering. Cut as much as 90% imo jist to save imsurance companies billions. Yes almost every patient is bedridden again. They cant use cbd or the dr will take away the few pills the give nowadays.
    Its like they all want the illegal drug market to grow exponentially.

  3. Sandy Auriene Sullivan at 8:28 am

    While many may find this line confusing “He stressed that marijuana may be dangerous for some cancer patients” since my brother’s 2nd stage 4 cancer in 13yrs I’ve learned a few things. Including that some cancers can bloom; get significantly worse with THC – CBD however does well in those cases. Estrogen based cancers are especially prone to increasing tumors/spread with high THC use.

    [no RSO! Which is used all over for last chance cancer treatments, when ‘nothing can be done’ – people go to legal states for treatments up to 8wks – still not by a doctor tho success rates vary, it is all about time! Remission]

    Concentrates work best for pain [for me] and pure oil is the only way to go. [one or two draws and pain significantly less for 40-120min]

  4. Ibin at 11:56 am

    Distilled alcohol is “allowed” for use yet we know that it has a very high abuse potential.The only “use” it has is to relax and act a fool if too much is consumed. It clouds judgement and will make people “do” actions that they normally would not. Yet people with pain generating conditions through no fault of their own can not receive adequate pain management now under the “one for all” policy. If marijuana helps with the patients pain issue and emotional issue, then it is their life. I also, have read that cannabis products seem to have a cancer reversing effect. The Georgia Guide-stone Policy in effect with opioid medications? I don’t know. To set a daily maximum dosage of opioid medication with sooooo much beneficial testimony is beyond any and all rationalization to me. Just like “drinkers” one in every ? will have problems with it. However ALL opioid medication users whether documented for beneficial use for decades are still the core of the perceived “opioid crisis”. The double standard ba$tards of the world, the experts, in any field are mostly comprised of the statisticians and not experienced with practical knowledge but, they seem to have all knowledge about the subject.

  5. guide at 10:27 am

    Nida sole purpose is to do and showcase the negative. The law literally mandates.
    No deaths. RSO has shown time after time reports of cancers going away. Look to Israel. Study after study after. ENOUGH with the negative. For one negative theres 99 poitives. No deaths. Whats funny is how people listen to this ,, more research, what about the kids. The real gateway drugs are booze and cigarettes.

  6. Bob Schubring at 6:17 am

    The reason it is vitally important to research the effects of cannabis on cancer, is the presence of an unidentified substance in cannabis, that may cause cancer to go into remission. Evidence for such a substance was found by US researchers in the 1970’s and again by Spanish researchers in the early 2000’s. A thorough review of Spanish and other research work by Guillermo Velasco et al, appears in “The use of cannabinoids as anticancer agents”, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 2016; 64(4): 259-266. Velasco suggests the anticancer agent may be cannabidiol (CBD). Other researchers believe that CBD interacts with an eicosanoid terpene that’s also present in cannabis, to cause the tumor-destroying effects. Not knowing what the mystery substance is and how it works, makes it difficult to predict how it interacts with other substances physicians use to treat cancer. In the cases where the cancer returns and kills the patient, it’s not known whether the cancer mutates and becomes cannabis-resistant, or whether some other explanation, such as a change in the growing conditions of the cannabis that results in an under-dosage of the mystery substance, is the reason why the cancer returns.

    It is irresponsible of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, to channel all research money spent on cannabis, into trying to prove that cannabis is harmful and trying to prove that all cannabis use, is a substance use disorder. If one examines the bibliography of the Velasco review, it is embarrassing how few American researchers participated in researching this subject. This vitally-important cancer research must be performed.

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