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Study: Cannabis as effective or “superior” to other anticancer drugs



80 percent of cancer patients said cannabis had the same or better effects than traditional medicines

Gynecologic cancer patients who were prescribed medical cannabis found it as effective, if not superior to other traditional medications, say researchers. 

According to data published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology Reports, at the end of last year, the majority of gynecologic oncology patients reported medical cannabis products were either as effective or more effective than prescription medications at mitigating symptoms of cancer and cancer-related treatments.

Investigators from Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut surveyed 31 gynecologic oncology patients with respect to their use of medical cannabis. 

Seventy-four percent of the participants were undergoing either chemotherapy or immunotherapy at the time of the study. 

Eighty-three percent of subjects reported that cannabis was effective for symptom management, specifically in the mitigation of neuropathy, insomnia, and anxiety, as well as for stimulating appetite. 

According to the study, 80 percent of patients reported medical cannabis worked the same or better than traditional medications for symptom management, such as opioids, antiemetics, anxiolytics, and sleep aids.

In addition 83 percent reported medical cannabis had an “equivalent or better side effect profile”.

Of those patients using medical cannabis for pain management, 63 percent were able to reduce their opioid consumption. 

Authors concluded: “Patients perceive that medical cannabis was useful for relief of cancer and treatment-related symptoms, suggesting medical cannabis may be a reasonable alternative or adjunct therapy. 

“Medical cannabis was well tolerated and may have the potential to improve neuropathic pain and decrease opioid use.”

They added: “This study takes an important step toward addressing the paucity of research on medical cannabis in the field of gynecology oncology. Given that a limited number of clinicians qualify to prescribe medical cannabis and only 33 states in the United States allow the use of medical cannabis, experience with medical cannabis is sparse and will continue in this way for the foreseeable future. 

“Our study helps to advance the field as it is the first to highlight the experiences of patients prescribed medical cannabis by physicians in gynecologic oncology.”

Full text of the study, “Prescribed medical cannabis in women with gynecologic malignancies: A single-institution survey-based study,” appears in Gynecologic Oncology Reports.

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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