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Current Cancer Cannabis Use

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The use of cannabis among cancer patients is growing, according to research. If you are either a newly diagnosed cancer patient or a long-term cancer survivor, you may be interested in

  • knowing the complementary uses of cannabis use-
  • knowing how other cancer patients use cannabis-

To be clear, I’m reporting therapeutic uses of cannabis, not recreational uses. I am a long-term cancer survivor living with many different long-term and late stage side effects. I experience joint, muscle pain and have difficulty sleeping sometimes. Nothing to worry about but I don’t want to use any type of addictive opioids and CBD oil is a relatively inexpensieve, easy therapy that I use.

While the article linked below only mentions this issue briefly, I use a CBD oil that does not have any THC in it. I don’t like the feeling of being high. I use Charlotte’s Web.

What are the risks and benefits of cannabis use?


  1. Pain Management: Cannabis has been used for pain relief, particularly in chronic conditions such as neuropathy and arthritis.
  2. Nausea and Vomiting: It may help alleviate nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy or other medical treatments.
  3. Appetite Stimulation: Cannabis can be effective in increasing appetite, especially in patients undergoing cancer treatment or experiencing weight loss.
  4. Muscle Spasms: Some patients with conditions like multiple sclerosis report relief from muscle spasms through cannabis use.
  5. Epilepsy: There is evidence that certain cannabinoids may help reduce seizures in some forms of epilepsy.
  6. Bone Health– there is evidence that CBD oil use builds bone strength


  1. Psychological Effects: Cannabis can cause short-term cognitive impairment, affecting memory, attention, and coordination.
  2. Dependency: Long-term use may lead to dependency or addiction, though the risk is generally considered lower than with substances like opioids.
  3. Mental Health: There is a potential association between cannabis use and mental health issues, especially in vulnerable individuals, including an increased risk of anxiety and depression.
  4. Respiratory Issues: Smoking cannabis can have similar respiratory risks as smoking tobacco, including chronic bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
  5. Cognitive Development in Youth: There are concerns about the impact of cannabis use on the developing brain, especially in adolescents.

In my experience, conventional oncology in the United States knows little about the therapeutic use of cannabis for cancer patients. That’s not a criticism of oncologists, but I’m pretty sure that cannabis is not part of the average med school curriculum.

At the same time, I consider cannabis to be an evidence-based, non-conventional therapy lie nutritional supplementation and lifestyle therapies like whole body hyperthermia and moderate exercise. These all are therapies that can help the cancer patient outside of the conventional world of oncology.

Are you a newly diagnosed cancer patient? Or a long-term cancer survivor? What type of cancer? What health issues are you thinking about? Let me know- David.PeopleBeatingCancer@gmail.com


David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Medical Cannabis: Patterns of Use Among Patients With Cancer

“Although cannabis use remains illegal at the federal level, as of October 2023, 38 states in the United States have passed laws allowing access to medical cannabis, with 23 states and the District of Columbia also allowing adult use of recreational cannabis. In medical cannabis programs, cancer is a qualifying condition in nearly all states. There is some evidence that cannabinoids may be effective in the management of symptoms commonly associated with cancer, including sleep, pain, anxiety, appetite, nausea, and vomiting.1-5…

My colleagues and I set out to describe patient experiences with medical cannabis, including cannabidiol (CBD), at a dedicated clinic at a National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center, with a focus on use contexts and patients’ reported benefits and harms…

Study Findings

Among 163 unique new patients, the mean patient age was 48, and roughly half were men (n = 84). Patients were predominately White and Non-Hispanic. Among cancer diagnoses, the largest group had

  • sarcoma (22%, n = 36), followed by
  • gastrointestinal malignancies (16%, n = 26);
  • 56% (n = 91) were actively receiving cancer treatment, and
  • 58% (n = 95) had stage IV or advanced disease at the time of intake form completion.

The most common treatment received was chemotherapy (87%).

In this study,6 approximately 50% of patients reported sleep, appetite, pain, and anxiety as the reasons for current interest in medical cannabis. About 30% of these patients considered medical cannabis for nausea and cancer treatment. A total of 40% and 46% reported past use of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), respectively, for medical purposes.

Among past users of CBD, commonly reported benefits were less:

  • pain (21%) or
  • anxiety (17%) and
  • improvement in sleep (15%);
  • 92% reported no side effects.

Among those with past use of THC, reported benefits included improvements in

  • appetite (40%),
  • sleep (32%),
  • nausea (28%),
  • and pain (17%);

side effects included feeling “high…

Of note, 48 patients (29.5%) were interested in using CBD for cancer treatment. There was no apparent significant association between interest in using CBD for cancer treatment and gender, race, and cancer stage. However, patient age (19.1% for those < age 40 vs 39.7% for those between the ages of 40 and 60 vs 29.7% for those ≥ age 60; P = .040) and active treatment (37.4% in active treatment vs 19.4% not in active treatment; P = .013) were significantly associated with expressing interest in using CBD for cancer treatment…

Data in support of the use of CBD for symptom management are even more scant, but the product’s lack of psychoactive effects makes it an attractive potential therapy.

Amid the growing interest in cannabinoids in the medical community and the general population, as well as shifting attitudes toward cannabis, clinicians must understand current cannabis use patterns among patients with cancer to inform appropriate counseling and guidance.”



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