Will Medical Cannabis Redefine Breast Cancer Care for Patients in the US?

by PQE Group

Although federal laws governing the use of cannabis in the United States have remained rigid for decades, state laws have, to some extent, evolved in the last 27 years to allow limited use of cannabis for medical purposes. This began with Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, in California. Since then, several states have followed suit over the years, allowing the use of medical cannabis with a doctor's recommendation for patients mainly suffering from chronic pain. The use of chemotherapy in treating breast cancer, which is relatively common among women, in addition to other cancers affecting the female reproductive organs, has led to discussions regarding the use of medical cannabis, particularly CBD, in alleviating chemotherapy symptoms such as chronic pain and nausea. 


Breast Cancer Care_Site PQE

Despite there not being any approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support medical cannabis' use as a cancer treatment, several studies, including a recent survey presented at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, have shown that a significant number of breast cancer patients across the United States are using medical cannabis to help cope with symptoms and during treatments like surgeries and radiation. Of the 42% of participants who acknowledged using medical cannabis for symptom relief, 78% were using it for pain relief, 70% for insomnia, 57% for anxiety, 51% for stress, and 46% for nausea. Despite more breast cancer patients switching to medical cannabis to help deal with pain and nausea, there is still a significant number of states across the US that either allow one of each (THC or CBD) or outright prohibit both recreational and medicinal use of cannabis. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of April 2023, 38 states, 3 territories, and the District of Columbia allow the use of medical cannabis and its products.

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