Summary: A study involving 1,886 cancer survivors found that nearly half of them have used cannabis, primarily to manage symptoms like sleep disturbances and pain. The study, published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, highlights the significant symptomatic improvement reported by most participants.
Cannabis Use Among Cancer Survivors Linked to Improved Symptom Management
The study, conducted on 1,886 cancer survivors, revealed that nearly half of them either currently or previously used cannabis. This usage was mainly for managing symptoms such as sleep disturbances and pain. Notably, about 20% of these survivors are actively using cannabis for symptomatic relief during their cancer treatment.
The research, published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, emphasized the notable prevalence of cannabis use among cancer survivors. Most participants reported a significant degree of symptomatic improvement for their specific reasons for using cannabis. The study found that 17.4% of participants were current users, 30.5% were former users, and 52.2% had never used marijuana. Among the 510 respondents who used cannabis post-cancer diagnosis, the majority used it to manage sleep disturbances, followed by pain, stress, nausea, and mood disorders or depression.
The study also discovered that a majority of patients found marijuana effective in treating their symptoms. For instance, among those using it for nausea, 73.6% reported it was effective “to a great extent,” with another 24.4% finding it “somewhat” effective. Similar positive responses were observed for depression, appetite, pain, sleep stress, and overall coping with illness.
Interestingly, the study also explored the use of cannabis in treating cancer itself. Nearly half of the respondents considered marijuana effective “to a great extent” in this context. However, awareness of marijuana’s potential health hazards was relatively low among the participants, with only about 10% being aware of such risks.
The study’s authors suggest that medical guidance should include discussions about therapeutic marijuana as part of a patient’s broader treatment plan. They emphasize the need for more studies to strengthen the current evidence on cannabis therapeutics and call for clear guidelines and educational programs for healthcare providers and survivors on the use, benefits, and risks of cannabis in cancer management.
Why It Matters: This study is significant as it sheds light on the growing use of cannabis among cancer survivors for symptom management. It highlights the potential benefits of marijuana in improving the quality of life for those undergoing cancer treatment. The findings also underscore the need for more research and better education about the therapeutic use of cannabis in healthcare settings.
Potential Implications: The study’s findings could lead to broader acceptance and integration of cannabis in cancer treatment and symptom management. It may also prompt further research into the efficacy and safety of cannabis use in medical settings, potentially influencing future healthcare policies and practices regarding cannabis use for therapeutic purposes.
Source: Marijuana Moment
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