A survey of cancer survivors from across the USA has shown that nearly half reported using cannabis at some point in their lifetimes and that the most popular form of delivery is via smoking joints.
The survey, which was published in the journal Cancers included 1886 cancer survivors from 41 states across the USA, and was conducted to to better understand how people living with cancer use and utilise cannabis throughout their cancer journey. The ultimate aim of producing the data is for healthcare providers to be able to provide better care for patients, and for patients to become more aware of the risks and benefits of using cannabis.
Scientists affiliated with the University of Texas, Anderson Cancer Center and John Hopkins University analysed the data and found that 36% of those who said they had used cannabis at least once in their lifetime were currently using, additionally close to half of the current users reported an increase in their usage post-cancer diagnosis.
The scientists commented on why they think the use of cannabis was shown to increase after a patient received their cancer diagnosis, “Many cancer survivors use cannabis as a palliative while undergoing cancer treatment, and this usage tends to rise following cancer diagnosis. This suggests that cancer survivors often turn to cannabis to cope with their diagnosis or manage treatment-related symptoms.”
For the survivors who reported using cannabis after they were diagnosed, 40% used cannabis during and after cancer treatment, 35% used cannabis during treatment, and 25% used cannabis after completing their cancer treatment.
Of those who were surveyed 71% reported preferring to use cannabis flower, 46% said they used CBD oil, 40% liked to medicate with gummies, and the other products frequently used were baked goods (32%), creams and gels (21%), and tinctures (18%).
The authors wrote about the methods of using cannabis as reported by participants, “More so, the common mode of inhalation/smoking of cannabis products were rolled cannabis cigarettes (79%), pipes (36%), water pipes (34%), vaporizers or vapes (14%), and e-cigarette devices (14%).”
In their conclusion, the researchers commented on the need for more education for healthcare professionals and patients, as well as noting that the most common form of use of cannabis was smoking, and, or, inhalation.
“A substantial number of cancer survivors use cannabis during cancer treatment, with increased use following cancer diagnosis. The forms and modes of delivery of cannabis varied among survivors, with most survivors inhaling or smoking cannabis. There is a need to educate healthcare providers (HCPs) and survivors on current evidence of cannabis use and strengthen cannabis regulatory frameworks to optimize benefits and minimize adverse events from cannabis use during cancer treatment.”