According to researchers in Washington, 25% of cancer patients use marijuana. And a new Washington State survey suggests that many more cancer patients throughout the U.S. would use medical marijuana if it were legalized nationally.
Study author Dr. Steven Pergam and his team pointed out that medical marijuana helps ease the negative side effects of traditional cancer treatment, reports WebMD.
Over 900 patients from the Seattle Cancer Center Alliance were included in this study and, of them, two-thirds said they used marijuana in the past. One-quarter of patients had used medical marijuana in the last year and 21% were recent users within the previous month.
Dr. Pergam said, “Cancer patients desire but are not receiving information from their cancer doctors about marijuana use during their treatment, so many of them are seeking information from alternate nonscientific sources.”
Many of the participants reported using medical marijuana to relieve pain and nausea. Some wanted to cope with other factors like stress, insomnia and depression. A majority of patients said they’d like to learn more about marijuana while in treatment. While 74% want information directly from cancer care providers.
Patients did report that they had to obtain information from other sources outside of their current healthcare systems.
“We hope that this study helps to open up the door for more studies aimed at evaluating the risks and benefits of marijuana in this population,” said Dr. Pergam. “This is important, because if we do not educate our patients about marijuana, they will continue to get their information elsewhere.”