Cannabis use among cancer patients is lower than that of the general public, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Massey Cancer Center study published in the journal Cancer. The study included data from 19,055 participants between 2013 and 2018 and concluded that just 9% of cancer patients used cannabis compared to 14% of people with no cancer history.
Dr. Bernard Fuemmeler, the study’s lead author, associate director for population science, and interim co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program at VCU Massey Cancer Center said that even when the researchers controlled “for things like age and race, cancer patients are still not increasing their use over time like the general population.”
He added he expected cannabis use rates among cancer patients “to have at least mirrored what was happening in the general population.”
“There is that element of a life-changing moment when you have cancer. You have to be mindful of your health and contemplate whether something like cannabis is helpful or hurtful.”— Fuemmeler in a press release
Study co-author Sunny Jung Kim, Ph.D., Harrison Scholar at VCU Massey Cancer Center and assistant professor of health behavior and policy at the VCU School of Medicine, said the study sheds some light“ on the prevalence of cannabis use among cancer patients and how it has changed over time.”
The analysis also revealed that people who reported higher levels of pain, regardless of cancer history, were more likely to use cannabis, while lower rates of consumption were seen among women, older people, and those with higher incomes, medical insurance, or better mental health.
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