Study: Eight Percent of Older Cancer Patients Are Using Cannabis

Tampa, FL: Nearly one-in-ten cancer patients over the age of 65 is an active consumer of cannabis, according to data published in the journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

Investigators affiliated with the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida reviewed drug screen samples provided by cancer patients upon their initial visit to the clinic. Researchers retrospectively reviewed three years of data.

Among cancer patients ages 65 or older, eight percent of tested positive for cannabis exposure. A separate study published in October in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that an estimated 25 percent of cancer patients self-report using cannabis medicinally, but that paper did not stratify respondents by age.

“As one of the first studies to assess cannabis use via objective testing rather than self-report, this study adds significantly to the emerging literature on cannabis use in people aged 65 years and older,” researchers concluded. “Findings suggest the rate of use in older adults living with cancer is higher than that among older adults in the general population.”

Full text of the study, “Rate of cannabis use in older adults with cancer,” appears in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.