Medicinal cannabis can offset cancer-related pain
Pain, along with depression, anxiety and insomnia, are some of the most fundamental causes of disability and pain in cancer patients during treatment, and can even lead to a worse prognosis.
Author David Meiri, associate professor at Technion Israel Institute of Technology, explains: “Traditionally, cancer-related pain has been primarily treated with opioid analgesics, but most oncologists do perceived that opioid treatment is dangerous, so there is a need for alternative therapies.”
“Our study is the first to evaluate the possible benefits of medical marijuana for cancer-related pain in cancer patients; collecting information from treatment initiation and repeated monitoring over a long period of time, to obtain a thorough analysis of its effectiveness.”
In need of alternative treatment
After speaking with a number of cancer patients who are looking for alternatives for pain and symptom relief, the researchers wanted to thoroughly examine the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis.
“We get a lot of cancer patients asking us if medical marijuana treatment might be beneficial,” said co-author Gil Bar-Sela, an associate professor at Ha’Emek Afula Medical Center. for their health or not. “Our initial review of the existing research suggests that there’s really not much known about its effectiveness, especially for the treatment of cancer-related pain, and about what known, most findings are inconclusive.”
The researchers recruited certified oncologists who were able to license medical marijuana to their cancer patients. These oncologists referred patients interested in the study and reported on their disease characteristics.
“Patients completed anonymous questionnaires before starting treatment and repeated at some point over the next six months. We collected data on a number of factors, including pain relief measures, Painkiller consumption, cancer symptom burden, sexual problems and side effects,” Bar-Sela.
An analysis of the data showed that many of the outcomes were improved, with less pain and cancer symptoms. It is important to reduce the use of opioids and other pain relievers. Nearly half of the patients studied stopped all pain medications after six months of cannabis treatment.
“Medical cannabis has been suggested as a cure for anorexia, however, most patients in this study still lost weight,” Meiri said.
“Interestingly, we found that sexual function improved for most men but worsened for most women,” he continued.
Meiri hopes future studies will dig deeper and look at the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in different groups of cancer patients.
“While our study was comprehensive and presented additional perspectives on medical marijuana, gender, age, and ethnicity, as well as cancer types and stages, mean that diversity The patient population in our study was very broad, therefore, future studies should investigate the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in specific subgroups of cancer patients with more general characteristics. .”