A new study from the Cancer Center of the state where legalized medicinal marijuana, found that about a quarter of patients surveyed used marijuana in the past year, mainly to facilitate the physical and psychological symptoms. The study, published early in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society, showed that legalization will increase the likelihood of marijuana use among patients.
Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, and more than half of US states have passed laws allowing medical marijuana in some form or another. As the availability and acceptance of marijuana use continues to grow, many lung cancer patients have access to it in the treatment.
Marijuana is used to relieve symptoms associated with cancer treatment, But the order of its use among cancer patients is not known. To explore this question, Stephen Pergamum of Research Cancer Center Fred Hutchinson and his colleagues studied 926 patients.
A team of scientists has found that the majority of patients showed a great interest in marijuana during treatment, while 74 percent would like to receive information from drug suppliers. Sixty-six percent of the patients used marijuana in the past, 24 per cent - in the past year, and 21 percent have used in the past month. Most of today's consumers have smoked or used marijuana in the first place to relieve physical symptoms (such as pain and nausea) or psychological (such as stress relief, relief of depression and insomnia).
The study reported that patients urine analysis showed that 14% used marijuana recently, and 18 percent - for the past week.
Almost all respondents would like to receive more information, not only from their doctors but also from sources outside the health care system. "Patients do not get enough information from their doctors about the use of marijuana during treatment, so many of them are searching for information of the alternative non-scientific sources" - says Dr. Pergam. He stressed that marijuana can be dangerous to some patients with cancer or lead to unwanted side effects. "We hope that this study will help in the future to evaluate the risks and benefits of cannabis for these patients," - explains the scientists.