In 2018, 43.5 million people aged 12 years or older in the United States (US) used cannabis (marijuana) in the past year1. The legal landscape of medical and recreational cannabis use is rapidly evolving with wide variation in state policies. The available delivery methods of cannabis have also undergone dramatic changes and include edibles, oils, tinctures, topicals, and inhaled forms. Vaping tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, has been implicated in the cause of severe respiratory illness2. Consequently, state-based policy changes are taking place at a time when research on the potential beneficial or adverse health effects of cannabis use and the impact on use among cancer patients across a variety of geographic settings remains limited. A survey of cancer patients conducted within a six-week period between 2015 and 2016 in the state of Washington, where medical and recreational cannabis use is legal, found that 24 percent of patients were active users3. This is coupled with survey evidence that a majority of US medical oncologists engage in discussions about cannabis use with patients, and almost half recommend it clinically; yet, few feel sufficiently informed to make recommendations regarding its use4. Common conditions for which it has been used among cancer patients include anorexia, nausea, and pain. The extent of use, the perceived and real benefits and risks of use, potential interactions with cancer treatment and other medications, and impact on comorbid conditions are uncertain. Clinicians should be aware of the extent of use in order to assess potential drug-drug interactions, side effects, and contraindications; hence, an understanding of how cancer patients and clinicians engage in discussions about cannabis use is essential. A first step in addressing research gaps regarding cannabis and cancer is to understand the patterns and extent of cannabis use among cancer patients, including those undergoing or having recently completed active treatment.
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|Cancer Center||Address||Patterns of Cannabis use Among Cancer Patients|
|Abramson Cancer Center||3400 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104|
|Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University||2103 Cornell Road Cleveland, OH 44106|
|Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center||1100 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109|
|Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina||86 Jonathan Lucas St., Charleston, SC 29425|
|Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota||420 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455|
|Mayo Clinic Cancer Center||200 First St. SW, Rochester, MN 55905|
|Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center||1275 York Ave. New York, NY 10065|
|Moffitt Cancer Center||12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612|
|Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health||3855 Health Sciences Drive, La Jolla, California 92093|
|OHSU Knight Cancer Institute||3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239|
|Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University||233 South 10th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107|
|Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center University of Miami Miller School of Medicine||1475 NW 12th Avenue, Miami, FL 33136|
1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP19-5068, NSDUH Series H-54). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/
2 Blount BC, Karwowski MP, Shields PG, et al. Vitamin E Acetate in bronchoalveolar-lavage fluid associated with EVALI. N Engl J Med. 2020; 382:697-705.
3 Pergam SA, Woodfield MD, Lee CM, et al. Cannabis use among patients at a comprehensive cancer center in a state with legalized medicinal and recreational use. Cancer. 2017; 123:4488-4497.
4 Braun IM, Wright A, Peteet J, et al. Medical oncologists’ beliefs, practices, and knowledge regarding marijuana used therapeutically: A nationally representative survey study. J Clin Oncol. 2018; 36:1957-1962.