Cancer patients increasingly turn to cannabis

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Cancer patients are proving to be a major segment of cannabis consumers

Cancer is a life-taking disease that still does not have an overwhelming success rate of being cured. Advances have been made, but there is still a lot more to be done. With limited possibilities of finding a permanent cure, those suffering from cancer look for relief where it can be achieved the most, and studies are now showing that most cancer patients are now turning to cannabis.

According to a study published in the cancer journal CANCER, 40.3% of all cancer patients have consumed marijuana in the past year. The study’s co-author, Kathryn Ries Tringale from the University of California, San Diego, explains, “Prospective clinical trials are needed to quantify the efficacy of marijuana in cancer-specific pain as well as the risk of opioid misuse in this patient population.”

Despite the increase, there is still substantial use of opioids by cancer patients. 13.9% of those with cancer indicated that they used opioids, while only 6.4% of non-cancer patients acknowledge opioid use. However, the continued increase in education regarding cannabis and marijuana is changing the percentages, with opioid use steadily decreasing.

The lead author of the report, Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, asserts, “Medical marijuana legislation has previously been associated with reduction in hospitalisations related to opioid dependence or abuse, suggesting if patients are in fact substituting marijuana for opioid, this may introduce an opportunity for reducing opioid-related morbidity and mortality.”