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CANCER News Alert: Study Finds Up to One-Quarter of Cancer Patients Use Marijuana

Group to explore best ways to end marijuana prohibition in Vermont

 

September 28, 2017 (Investorideas.com Newswire) A new study conducted in a cancer center in a state with legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana found that approximately one-quarter of surveyed patients used marijuana in the past year, mostly for physical and psychological symptoms. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study also revealed that legalization also revealed that legalization increased the likelihood for use among patients.

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and over half the states in the U.S. have passed laws allowing for medical marijuana in some form. As availability and acceptance of marijuana use continue to increase, many cancer patients will have greater access to marijuana during their cancer treatment.

Marijuana is purported to alleviate symptoms related to cancer treatment, but patterns of use among cancer patients are not well known. To investigate, Steven Pergam, MD, MPH, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and his colleagues surveyed 926 patients at the Seattle Cancer Center Alliance.

The team found that most patients had a strong interest in learning about marijuana during treatment and 74 percent wanted information from cancer care providers. Sixty-six percent had used marijuana in the past, 24 percent used in the last year, and 21 percent used in the last month. Most current users smoked or consumed marijuana primarily for physical symptoms (such as pain and nausea) or psychological reasons (such as coping with stress, depression, and insomnia).

The study reports that random analysis of patient urine samples showed that 14 percent had evidence of recent cannabis use, similar to the 18 percent of users who reported use within the past week.

Although nearly all respondents wanted more information directly from their doctors, most reported that they were more likely to get information from sources outside of the healthcare system. "Cancer patients desire but are not receiving information from their cancer doctors about marijuana use during their treatment, so many of them are seeking information from alternate non-scientific sources," said Dr. Pergam. He stressed that marijuana may be dangerous for some cancer patients or lead to unwanted side effects. "We hope that this study helps to open up the door for more studies aimed at evaluating the risks and benefits of marijuana in this population. This is important, because if we do not educate our patients about marijuana, they will continue to get their information elsewhere."

Additional Information

NOTE: The information contained in this release is protected by copyright. Please include journal attribution in all coverage. A free abstract of this article will be available via the Cancer News Room upon online publication. For more information or to obtain a PDF of any study, please contact:

Dawn Peters (US) +1 781-388-8408
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com

Follow us on Twitter @WileyNews

Full Citation:

"Cannabis Use among Patients at a Comprehensive Cancer Center in a State with Legalized Medicinal and Recreational Use." Steven A. Pergam, Maresa Woodfield, Christine M. Lee, Guang-Shing Cheng, Kelsey Baker, Sara R. Marquis, and Jesse R. Fann. CANCER; Published Online: September 25, 2017 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.30879).

URL Upon Publication: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/cncr.30879

Author Contact:

Claire Hudson, of the Communications & Marketing Office at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, at crhudson@fredhutch.org or +1 (206) 667-7365.

About the Journal

CANCER is a peer-reviewed publication of the American Cancer Society integrating scientific information from worldwide sources for all oncologic specialties. The objective of CANCER is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of information among oncologic disciplines concerned with the etiology, course, and treatment of human cancer. CANCER is published on behalf of the American Cancer Society by Wiley and can be accessed online at http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/cancer.

Follow us on Twitter @JournalCancer and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ACSJournals

About Wiley

Wiley, a global company, helps people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.



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