Cannabis is effective in alleviating symptoms of cancer patients

A group of Israeli scientists analysed data of 2970 cancer patients treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017 and found beneficial effects across many symptoms. Average age was 59.5 years and 54.6% were women. About one quarter (26.7%) had previous experience with the drug. The most frequent types of cancer pertained to breast (20.7%), lung (13.6%), pancreas (8.1%) and bowel (7.9%).

After six months of follow up, 902 patients died and 682 stopped the treatment. Of the remaining, 1211 (60.6%) responded and 95.9% reported an improvement in their condition from the use of cannabis, 45 patients (3.7%) reported no change and four patients (0.3%) reported deterioration in their medical condition. The main symptoms were sleep problems (78%), pain (78%), weakness (73%), nausea (65%) and lack of appetite (49%). Authors concluded that cannabis “as a palliative treatment for cancer patients seems to be a well tolerated, effective and safe option to help patients cope with the malignancy related symptoms.”

Bar-Lev Schleider L, Mechoulam R, Lederman V, Hilou M, Lencovsky O, Betzalel O, Shbiro L, Novack V. Prospective analysis of safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in large unselected population of patients with cancer. EUR J Intern Med. 2018;49:37-43.

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