A comprehensive evaluation of medical cannabis’ benefits for pain related to cancer observed that measures of pain improved significantly for the majority of oncology patients, and other symptoms related to cancer were reduced, consumption of painkillers was decreased, and minimal side effects were experienced.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
These findings indicate that medicinal cannabis could be considered a safe alternative to the pain relief medications that are typically prescribed to individuals with cancer.
Pain, along with insomnia, anxiety, and depression are some of the main causes of disability and suffering for oncology patients while undergoing treatment, and could even result in worsened prognosis.
Pain related to cancer is typically treated with opioid analgesics in most cases, but the majority of oncologists see opioid treatment as harmful, so alternative treatments are needed.
The study assessed medical cannabis’ potential benefits for pain related to cancer in oncology patients; collecting information from when the treatment started, and with follow-ups over time, to get an extensive analysis of its effectiveness.
After talking to a few individuals with cancer who were searching for alternative pain and symptom relief options, the researchers extensively tested medicinal cannabis’ potential benefits.
They encountered numerous individuals with cancer who wanted to know if medical cannabis treatment could benefit their health. The review of existing research showed that not much was known about its effectiveness, especially for treating pain related to cancer, and the majority of results were inconclusive of what was known.
Certified oncologists were recruited who could provide a medical cannabis license to their cancer patients. Interested patients were then referred by the oncologists to the study who then reported on the characteristics of their disease.
Anonymous questionnaires were completed before treatment started, and again a few times over the following 6 months. Data was gathered on several factors, such as side effects, sexual problems, cancer symptom burden, analgesics consumption, and pain measures.
A data analysis found improvements in a lot of the outcome measures, with fewer cancer symptoms and less pain. Importantly, Opioid and other pain analgesics use was reduced with about half of the participants quitting all analgesic medications after 6 months of treatment with medicinal cannabis.
Although medical cannabis has been suggested as a potential appetite loss remedy, the majority of individuals in this study still experienced weight loss. A decline in weight is anticipated with disease progression as a considerable portion had been diagnosed with progressive cancer.
Sexual function improved for the majority of men but worsened for the majority of women.
Although the study was extensive and provided additional medical cannabis perspectives, the age, sex, and ethnicity, as well as types of cancer and the stage of cancer meant there was a wide-ranging variety of individuals in the study.