BY: Chronic Staff | Recent News | November 3, 2021
Unexpectedly, 42% of those with breast cancer in the US receiving treatment were surveyed and are using cannabis to alleviate side effects like pain, anxiety, nausea, and insomnia. They reported that it is effective in relieving the side effects brought by the treatment. It is helpful in managing side effects.
Although there are safety concerns, it is only limited to the use of unregulated products. Some patients did not discuss the use of cannabis with their physicians. According to a survey, only 4% said that their physicians are their source of information about cannabis. The survey involved 612 patients with breast cancer and the results were published online on October 12 in Cancer.
The study initiates an important opportunity for providers to engage in informed conversations regarding medical marijuana with the patients. The lead author, Marisa Weiss, MD of Breastcancer.org and the Lankenau Medical Center near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said that not knowing whether or not the cancer patients are using cannabis is a major blind spot in the ability to provide optimal care.
Cannabis has been legalized in many states across America. Donald I. Abrams, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and an oncologist at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine shared that even if many states have been lenient on the laws on cannabis, it remains a Schedule I drug on the federal level and essentially considered illegal. He said that this is one of the reasons many providers are not comfortable discussing it with patients. He added that cannabis use is not openly taught in medical school and so physicians cannot be expert advisers on the matter unless this changed.