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Study: Israeli Cancer Patients Report Subjective Relief From Cannabis

Thursday, 03 July 2014

Study: Israeli Cancer Patients Report Subjective Relief From Cannabis

Tel Aviv, Israel: Patients with cancer report that cannabis is "highly effective" at mitigating various symptoms of the disease, according to data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Israeli researchers surveyed patients with advanced forms of cancer who were residing at the Sheba Medical Center, an academic medical center affiliated with Tel Aviv University. Investigators assessed participants' views on their use of cannabis, which may be legally authorized by an oncologist.

Authors reported, "Improvement in pain control was reported by 70 percent of the patients, [improvement in] general well-being by 70 percent, improved appetite by 60 percent, reduced nausea and vomiting by 50 percent, and reduced anxiety by 44 percent." Overall, 83 percent of respondents "graded the overall efficacy of cannabis as high."

The majority of participants (62 percent) reported no adverse side effects attributable to cannabis therapy.

Researchers concluded: "The vast majority of the participants who completed the detailed questionnaire stated that cannabis use was associated with an improvement in all aspects that were surveyed, ... [O]ur data indicate that nearly half of all cancer patients who start treatment with cannabis continue using it for prolonged periods of time and some of the patients describe the treatment as effective for a wide range of symptoms, including general well-being. Although these data cannot endorse the use of cannabis for specific symptoms, they support the view that its use may be justified as part of palliative treatment in selected cancer patients."

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "Patterns of medical cannabis among Israeli cancer patients: A single institution experience," is available in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.