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Throughout time there have been many changes in the medical world and types of treatment offered for different issues. Ideas change and so do stances towards things, this has happened especially in the past years towards medical marijuana usage. This change paired with the magnitude of cancer patients undergoing treatment created a motive for studies such as this one. Which is to find out how the addition of marijuana into people’s medical treatment effects their lives. Cancer is something that essentially everyone deals with at some point in their lives whether it be the individual or a family member. This makes up for a large group of cancer patients looking for safe relief from the side effects of treatment and medical marijuana has this potential. Due to this people are going to try it anyway, so it is important to at least know what comes along with it.

Because of its classification as a schedule one drug testing for marijuana has been very limited up until now, this classification deems marijuana as having no medicinal benefits and having high chances to be abused recreationally. This very inaccurate description has made it so most studies have to stray away from normal experimental set-ups and become more survey based, allowing marijuana users to respond and provide data on their usage and how it has affected them and their treatment experience. The study conducted in this article was put on by the Regional Drug and Alcohol Research Center. In which they collected data from a group of 190 Israeli cancer survivors who were licensed to use cannabis. They were then given a cross-sectional survey where they answered questions about different parts of life since trying cannabis as a form of treatment. This survey covered how much and often they used cannabis to reap its benefits and also how they feel their quality of life has changed since beginning use. The survey also shed light on what symptoms they were hoping to combat with the use of cannabis, most being pain, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety. This is supported by another study done where observations were made from the past forty years to show that with all types of cancer over 50% of people report experiencing chronic pain (Everdingen 2007). Doing this allowed the researchers to obtain multifaceted results and data relating many different aspects of medical cannabis use and begin to gage motives behind patients perusing it for treatment.

The motivation with this study is one that is very common for most medical cannabis studies right now. Cannabis has recently emerged as a viable way of treating health problems and the legalization of it nationally is slowly becoming more and more prevalent, but due to its labeling as a schedule one drug by our government testing on it has been very limited. This recent surge is motivating new studies to be done because it is showing promising potential, but we simply do not have many documented results or data on the topic due to the laws restricting it. This has amplified the necessity to gather data to prevent recommending this sort of treatment to the masses without a clear idea of the affect it has on people. Over the past ten to twenty years, there has been a shift to a more individualized treatment plan when it comes to treatment methods for long-term issues for patients such as chronic pain and insomnia. Both symptoms cancer survivors across the United States face every day. These things come together to create yet another motive for research on this drug, which can offer relief to symptoms and increase quality of life with much less risk than other prescription fixes.

The authors speak about potential issues with their study design in the article. Although there were hopes that the anonymity of this study eliminated this, the fact that this was based solely off patients’ self-reports could lead to potential bias. They also noted that there could be selection bias since patients got to decide if they wanted to participate or not, potentially leading to those with worse experiences regarding medical cannabis to not respond. Lastly, they stated that the study could be improved by including verified data by medical records and also actively monitoring the patients during the study to examine the medical cannabis usage in real time. The largest critique I personally had was in unison with what they stated, real time monitoring would help this study go a long way. This would allow them to see day to day activity rather than a summed-up version of everything at the end via survey.

Ultimately, this study shows that out of those who decided to respond, 90.6% of 190 patients agreed with the statement that medical cannabis improves their daily function and 84.5% of the patients agreed that it improves their mood. As cancer survivors, these people have been through a lot just to keep their lives and do not deserve to live the rest of their time suffering from the symptoms of surviving that disease. These circumstances can make it very easy for them to turn to potentially dangerous and addictive medications to treat the symptoms they are suffering from day in and day out, in hopes of achieving a tolerable life. This should not even be a potential outcome when there are alternatives such as those observed in this study without the addictive and debilitating side effects that come along with opioids and other medications. Hopefully moving forward, the drug can be de-scheduled allowing for more studies to be done and more to be learned about this drug with a world of potential.



van den Beuken-van Everdingen MHJ, de Rijke JM, Kessels AG, Schouten HC, van Kleef M, Patijn J. 2007. Prevalence of pain in patients with cancer: a systematic review of the past 40 years. Annals of oncology. 18(9).

Junko Y+. 2019. What is medical marijuana and facts you need to know.

Zolotov Y, Eshet L, Morag O. 2020. Preliminary assessment of medical cannabis consumption by cancer survivors. Complementary therapies in medicine. 56(0965-2299):0965-2299.

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