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The trial will now move to a larger phase, with another 170 people to be recruited, to “determine with much more certainty how effective medicinal cannabis is and whether it should be considered for use in routine cancer care,” Dr. Grimison says in the university statement.
The helpful effects of using cannabis have been noted in other studies involving cancer patients.
For instance, patients enrolled in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program experienced a significant reduction in symptoms assessed within four months of starting the program. Released last year, the proportion of patients achieving 30 per cent or more symptom reduction within that timeframe varied from 27 per cent for fatigue to 50 per cent for vomiting. Adverse effects were reported in 10.5 per cent of the patients.
A study published in 2018, involving 1,211 cancer patients who completed the study through follow-up, looked at symptoms such as sleep problems, pain, nausea and reduced appetite. Findings show the vast majority of patients, 95.9 per cent, reported an improvement in their medical condition, while 3.7 per cent reported no change and 0.3 per cent reported deterioration.
“Cannabis as a palliative treatment for cancer patients is a well-tolerated, effective and safe option to help patients cope with the malignancy-related symptoms,” notes the study abstract.
Again, some side effects were reported. These included dry mouth, increased appetite, sleepiness and psychoactive effect. Although dry mouth was the most commonly reported of these side effects, it was cited by just 7.3 per cent of subjects.