A comprehensive evaluation of the benefits of medical cannabis for cancer-related pain found that for most oncology patients, pain measures improved significantly, other cancer-related symptoms also decreased, pain reliever consumption decreased, And side effects were minimal. published in Frontiers in Pain ResearchThese findings suggest that medicinal cannabis may be carefully considered as an alternative to the pain-relieving drugs commonly prescribed to cancer patients.
Along with pain, depression, anxiety and insomnia, oncology are some of the most fundamental causes of patient disability and suffering during treatment, and may even lead to poor prognosis.
Author David Merry, assistant professor at Technion Israel Institute of Technology, explained, “Traditionally, cancer-related pain is primarily treated by opioid analgesics, but most oncologists consider opioid treatment dangerous, hence the need for alternative treatments.” it occurs.”
“Our study is the first to assess the potential benefits of medical cannabis for cancer-related pain in oncology patients; from the start of treatment and through repeated follow-up for extended periods, to obtain an in-depth analysis of its effectiveness.” Collecting information together.
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need for alternative treatment
After talking to several cancer patients who were looking for alternative options for relieving pain and symptoms, the researchers were keen to fully test the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis.
“We encountered a number of cancer patients who asked us whether medical cannabis treatment could benefit their health,” said co-author Gil Bar-Sela, associate professor at Ha’Amec Medical Center Afula. “Our preliminary review of existing research showed that little was really known about its effectiveness, particularly for the treatment of cancer-related pain, and what was known, most of the findings were inconclusive.”
Researchers recruited certified oncologists who were able to issue medical cannabis licenses to their cancer patients. These oncologists referred interested patients for study and explained their disease characteristics.
“Patients completed anonymous questionnaires before starting treatment, and then at multiple time points during the next six months. We collected data on a number of factors, including pain measures, use of analgesics, burden of cancer symptoms, sexual There are problems and side effects involved,” Bar-Sela said.
Analysis of the data showed that many outcomes improved with less pain and cancer symptoms. Importantly, the use of opioids and other analgesics decreased. In fact, about half of the patients studied discontinued all analgesic medications after six months of treatment with medicinal cannabis.
“Therapeutic cannabis has been suggested as a possible remedy to reduce appetite, however, most patients in this study still lost weight. As a large proportion were diagnosed with progressive cancer, disease progression Weight loss is expected with .
He continued: “Interestingly, we found that sexual function improved for most men but worsened for most women.”
Meery wants future studies to dig deeper and look at the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in different groups of cancer patients.
“Although our study was very comprehensive and presented additional perspectives on medical cannabis, gender, age and ethnicity, as well as cancer type and cancer stage, meant that the diversity of patients in our study was broad. Therefore, the future Studies should examine the level of effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in specific subgroups of cancer patients with more shared characteristics.”