Marijuana’s decades-old reputation as a hard drug with high potential for addiction and no medical applications has taken a hit over the past decade. With more than 30 states legalizing medical cannabis, the controversial drug is now being used to help alleviate a wide variety of medical conditions. As the public becomes warier of opioids, plenty of patients have begun using cannabis to alleviate cancer and chemotherapy-related symptoms, including pain, nausea and insomnia.
However, recently unveiled research has shown that despite the rise in the number of people using cannabis to treat various medical issues, especially as the plans sees increased legalization, patients suffering from cancer have consumed cannabis less often than the general public. After analyzing data that was collected from 20,000 participants via a nationally representative longitudinal survey over six years, researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center published their findings in the journal “Cancer.” Within the past year, only 8% of cancer survivors had consumed cannabis compared to 15% who had no have a history of cancer.
Bernard F. Fuemmeler, PhD, a professor in the department of health and behavior policy at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, says that given the increased social acceptance of cannabis, the researchers were curious to see how many individuals with a history of cancer used cannabis. There were only two major national studies regarding this subject before the Virginia Commonwealth University study, he says, and they had wildly different results. One study suggested that 38% of patients with a history of cancer had consumed cannabis while the other found that 9% to 10% had consumed cannabis within the past 30 days. Fuemmeler, who is the associate director for population science and program co-leader in cancer prevention and control at Massey Cancer Center, says the results of their study corroborated the lower estimate.
The data he and his colleagues studied was part of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (“PATH”), collected in four annual waves from 2013 to 2018. The study was a collaboration between NIH and FDA that followed marijuana and tobacco smoking behaviors in a sample of the American population. The final sample of participants contained 20,724 individuals with 78% of them being white, 52% were women, while 59% had some college education. Analysis of the data collected between 2013 and 2018 showed that patients suffering from cancer reported much less marijuana consumption compared to people who never had cancer.
Specifically, around 3.8% of cancer survivors consumed cannabis compared to 6.5% of participants who had no history of cancer; older individuals with health insurance were even less likely to consume cannabis. Furthermore, greater pain levels were associated with a higher likelihood of cannabis consumption for both cancer survivors and those without a history of cancer.
These findings offer some food for thought for companies that manufacture cannabis products for medical and recreational, such as Simply Sonoma Inc.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Simply Sonoma Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/Sonoma
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