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JAMA Oncol. 2016 May 1;2(5):670-675. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0155.

Medical Marijuana Use in Oncology: A Review.

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Medical student at University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.
Program in Women's Oncology, Women and Infants' Hospital, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.



Medicinal marijuana use is currently legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. As more states approve marijuana use for medical indications, physicians will be asked by their patients for more information regarding the risks and benefits of use. This article reviews the history, adverse effects, and proposed mechanisms of action of marijuana and summarizes the available literature regarding symptom relief and therapeutic value in patients with cancer.


Marijuana in oncology may have potential for use as an antiemetic, for refractory cancer pain, and as an antitumor agent. However, much of the data are based on animal data, small trials, or are outdated.

Conclusions and Relevance:

More research is needed in all areas related to the therapeutic use of marijuana in oncology.

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