Survey: One-in-Four Cancer Patients Report Using Medical Cannabis

Royal Oak, MI: An estimated one-in-four cancer patients residing in a state where medical cannabis is legally accessible report using it therapeutically, according to data published in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology.

A team of investigators affiliated with Beaumont Hospital, Office of Hematology and Oncology in Michigan surveyed 188 cancer patients about their use of medical cannabis. (Surveys were completed in 2018, prior to the state’s enactment of adult-use marijuana legalization. Michigan legalized medical marijuana access to qualifying patients in 2008.)

Twenty-five percent of survey respondents, a percentage that researchers acknowledged is consistent with prior studies, reported having used cannabis. Investigators reported that “the vast majority of patients believe MC [medical cannabis] use to have resulted in improvement of the symptoms that were assessed, especially pain, poor appetite, and anxiety.”

Authors concluded: “This survey adds to the growing body of evidence that MC is a safe and potentially effective adjunct to conventional medications for the palliation of cancer patients. … Given the increasing prevalence of MC use among cancer patients, it is imperative that hematologist and oncologists become comfortable with discussing this topic with patients.”

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis in cancer patients: A survey of a community hematology oncology population,” appears in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology.