Medical Cannabis Use in Glioma Patients Treated at a Comprehensive Cancer Center in Florida
Background: Glioma is a devastating primary tumor of the central nervous system with difficult-to-manage symptoms. Cannabis products have been postulated to potentially benefit glioma patients. Recent state legalization allowed investigators an opportunity to study glioma patients’ adoption of medical marijuana (MM).
Objective: Our goals were to: (1) determine the prevalence of marijuana use, both through physician recommendation and self-medication, and (2) evaluate its perceived risks and benefits in glioma patients.
Design: Self-report data were collected and descriptive analyses were conducted.
Setting/Subjects: Participants were adult, English-speaking patients undergoing treatment for primary non-recurrent malignant glioma in neuro-oncology clinics at an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Measurements: The survey on MM was adapted from previous research and included questions on knowledge and attitudes toward MM; use, frequency, type, and sourcing of MM; and reasons for use of MM and perceived symptom relief among users.
Results: A total of 73 patients were surveyed. The majority of participants were aware that MM was legal in the state, and most reported learning of this through the media. Over 70% of participants reported having considered using MM, and a third reported using marijuana products after their diagnosis. Most received recommendations from friends/family rather than a medical provider, and only half of the users had obtained a physician’s recommendation. Users generally reported benefits.
Conclusions: With the increasing national conversation that accompanies legalization, glioma patients are pursuing marijuana for the treatment for their symptoms. More research and education is needed to bring health care providers into the conversation.