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Cannabis for Cancer: Illusion or Tip of the Iceberg?

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Cannabis for Cancer

A 2019 study entitled "Cannabis for Cancer - Illusion or the Tip of an Iceberg: A Review of the Evidence for the Use of Cannabis and Synthetic Cannabinoids in Oncology" that was published in the journal Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs explored the efficacy of cannabis for cancer.

A young hemp plant.
Does cannabis treat cancer?

The study included data regarding "the variability of available products...in the clinical context and data regarding chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, cancer-related pain, anorexia, insomnia, and anxiety...."


"The study's authors noted that cannabis may provide value in the treatment of the sometimes severe nausea and vomiting that results from chemotherapy. They added that the combination of cannabis with conventional cancer therapies may either enhance or diminish efficacy."

Cannabis for Cancer: Nausea

Cannabis for Cancer. The study's authors noted that cannabis may provide value in the treatment of the sometimes severe nausea and vomiting that results from chemotherapy. They added that the combination of cannabis with conventional cancer therapies may either enhance or diminish efficacy.

A cancer cell under magnification.
Cannabis treats nausea.

The study emphasized the need for additional study data to be gathered prior to making assumptions regarding the efficacy of the various phytomolecules found in marijuana for the more than 100 varieties of cancer that have been discovered to date. "Clinical trials and in-depth drug and patient analyses are needed to find the right constellation of drug composition, dose, and means of administration to tailor specific cannabis-based medicine" for particular patients in particular scenarios.


"Sufficient evidence supports the use of cannabis for palliative indications in oncology," but warned that patients should be "carefully selected, guided, and followed."

Sufficient Evidence for Cannabis for Cancer

The researchers concluded that "sufficient evidence supports the use of cannabis for palliative indications in oncology," but warned that patients should be "carefully selected, guided, and followed." The study emphasized that existing research has indicated "potent antineoplastic activity," but stressed that "more data must be accrued before conclusions can be drawn."


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