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Isr Med Assoc J. 2017 Feb;19(2):85-88.

Cannabis Use in Palliative Oncology: A Review of the Evidence for Popular Indications.

Author information

1
Division of Oncology, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel.
2
Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

Abstract

A flowering plant of variegated ingredients and psychoactive qualities, cannabis has long been used for medicinal and recreational purposes. Currently, cannabis is approved in several countries for indications of symptomatic alleviation. However, limited knowledge on the benefits and risks precludes inclusion of cannabis in standard treatment guidelines. This review provides a summary of the available literature on the use of cannabis and cannabinoid-based medicines in palliative oncology. Favorable outcomes are demonstrated for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and cancer-related pain, with evidence of advantageous neurological interactions. Benefit in the treatment of anorexia, insomnia and anxiety is also suggested. Short- and long-term side effects appear to be manageable and to subside after discontinuation of the drug. Finally, cannabinoids have shown anti-neoplastic effects in preclinical studies in a wide range of cancer cells and some animal models. Further research is needed before cannabis can become a part of evidence-based oncology practice.

PMID:
28457056
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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