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Cannabis Products Used Differ for Cancer, Noncancer Patients

MONDAY, April 1, 2019 -- The forms of medical cannabis used vary for patients with and without cancer, according to a study published online March 25 in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Arum Kim, M.D., from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues used data from a medical cannabis licensee in New York State to examine the association between demographic information, qualifying conditions, and symptoms and the medical cannabis product used. Data were included for adults aged ≥18 years who used medical cannabis licensee products between January 2016 and December 2017.

The researchers identified 11,590 individuals who used at least one cannabis product, including 1,900 (16.4 percent) with cancer. Patients with cancer who used cannabis were older and more likely to be female. Severe or chronic pain was the most common qualifying symptom for both cancer and noncancer patients. Cancer patients were more likely to use the sublingual tincture form of cannabis (55.2 percent), and noncancer patients were more likely to use the vaporization form (44.0 percent). There was an increase in the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) daily dose by a factor of 0.20 mg/week over time across all patients, yielding an increase in the THC:cannabidiol daily ratio.

"Given the rapidly changing landscape of cannabis use in the United States, both medically and recreationally, this is a timely study that adds to the current scarcity of data on patterns of medical cannabis use by adults with cancer," the authors write.

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Posted: April 2019

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