Cannabis For Cancer Symptoms, But How Are Patients Supposed To Know About Potency And Dosing?

Cannabis has gained popularity among cancer patients and survivors as a means of managing symptoms related to the disease and its treatment.

However, a recent survey presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting highlighted the need for better education and communication between healthcare providers and patients regarding cannabis use.

It is important to consider the therapeutic effects and potential risks of cannabis depending on the specific compounds present in the products consumed.

See also: Breast Cancer Survivor Enjoys Remission After Doctors Supported Using Cannabis With Chemotherapy

About The Survey

The survey was conducted by Danielle Smith, Ph.D., MPH, professor of oncology at Roswell Park, and director of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Center for Translational Research on Cannabis and Cancer.

Researchers surveyed a randomly selected sample of patients and survivors after New York State legalized the recreational use of cannabis in 2021.

The results revealed that while patients were generally able to distinguish between products that contained predominantly THC or CBD, "only 27.2% of respondents were aware of the specific numerical concentration of these compounds in the products they consumed," Smith told Healio.

Patients who used commercially available products, such as oral capsules or vaping products, were more likely to know the numerical values compared to those who used cannabis flower, according to the survey.

See also: Medical Marijuana: Pain Relief For Cancer Patients And Helps Ease Chemo Brain, Studies Find

Education Is Needed

Based on these findings, "providers may need to play a larger role in educating themselves about cannabis and then use that information to inform useful dialogue and educate their patients," Smith said. 

See also: Avicanna Sponsors New Medical Cannabis Education And Training Campaign In Canada

He also suggested that patients bring the containers of the cannabis products they're using to appointments to enable providers to collect more precise details about the compounds present in them.

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Read next: Legalized Cannabis Is Reducing Opioid Use In Cancer Patients, Say Researchers At Weill Cornell Medicine

Photo: Courtesy Of Roxana Gonzalez On Shutterstock Edited By Benzinga

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