Study Finds 96% of Cancer Patients Improved With Cannabis

In a recently released Israeli study, an incredible 96% of cancer patients who took cannabis reported an improvement in symptoms. The study was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine earlier this year and looked at 2,970 cancer patients with an average age of around 60.

This is yet another piece of evidence strongly suggesting that marijuana is an effective and relatively safe way to treat the painful side effects that affect cancer sufferers.


Who Conducted This Study Looking at Cannabis’s Effect on Cancer Symptoms?

The study was run by Tikun Olam, an Israeli-based medical marijuana producer and research company. Tikun Olam started in 2005 as a nonprofit organization to advocate for safe and clean cannabis for medical marijuana patients. It then moved into developing cannabis strains. In addition, it now makes cannabis-based products including tinctures, concentrates and topicals.

All of its products are derived from cannabis strains that Tikun Olam has developed itself. You may have heard of its proprietary cannabis strain called Avidekel, a strain rich in cannabidiol (CBD) that contains practically no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). People who want CBD’s anti-inflammatory and other healing properties without a head high give the strain rave reviews.

Through international subsidiaries and partners, Tikun Olam’s products are available in Canada, Australia and even here in the U.S.

What This Study Tells Us About Cannabis in Addressing Cancer Symptoms

Tikun Olam’s purpose was to see how cannabis could help in palliative care for cancer patients. (The Israeli ministry of health began to allow cancer patients to legally consume medicinal cannabis in 2007.) It didn’t set out to prove the plant could cure cancer, but rather to see how cannabis could help those dealing with the painful side effects of the disease and primary cancer treatments like chemotherapy.

Those symptoms that affect nearly all cancer patients and were mentioned by participants in this study include:

  • Insomnia
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Weakness

The study found the participants had to deal with some side effects from cannabis consumption, but they were relatively minor and treatable. These included:

  • Sleepiness
  • Increased appetite
  • Psychoactive effects
  • Dry mouth

This Study & Many Others Find Cannabis Allows for a Reduction In the Use of Opioids

Besides the 96% who reported an improvement in their symptoms, Tikun Olam also disclosed that within just six months of starting a marijuana protocol, 36% of subjects were able to stop taking the opioids they were prescribed. A further 10% of the study’s subjects were able to reduce the dose of opioids they needed.

Many other studies and anecdotal evidence point to cannabis as an effective pain reliever for people, so much so that they’re able to reduce or stop their opioid intake altogether. In fact, HelloMD conducted a study on cannabis as a substitute for opioid and non-opioid-based pain medications and found that:

  • 97% of those surveyed “strongly agreed/agreed” that they could decrease their opioid use when using cannabis.
  • 92% of participants “strongly agreed/agreed” that they prefer cannabis to treat their medical condition.
  • 81% of subjects “strongly agreed/agreed” that cannabis by itself was more effective than taking cannabis with opioids. The results were similar when using cannabis with non-opiate based pain medications.

We’ve all heard of the damage that potentially addictive and deadly opioids can cause. And marijuana as a natural, non-addictive pain reliever is an exciting prospect as an alternative to opioids—or even as an exit drug out of opioid addiction.

How to Begin Taking Medical Marijuana for Cancer Symptoms

If you want to try treating cancer symptoms with marijuana, it may take some time to figure out what works for you. With all things cannabis, some experimentation will probably be in order to find the right strain, consumption method and dose that gives you the effects you’re looking for.

It may be helpful to start with the symptom(s) you want to treat and work backwards from there to find the right cannabis regimen. So, for example, if you’re having trouble sleeping, you’ll probably want to start with an indica or hybrid marijuana strain with a cannabinoid/terpene profile that’s known for promoting sleep and relaxation. If possible, you’ll also want to choose a marijuana edible, since this form of cannabis is processed through the liver and though it takes longer to kick in, its effects last longer—hopefully through the night for those with sleep issues.

If you have questions about using cannabis to help with cancer symptoms, you can head over to our Answers page to post your question and a knowledgeable member of the HelloMD community will give you some expert guidance. You can also choose to consult with one of our doctors or health professionals to learn more about how medical marijuana could help ease your cancer symptoms.

Photo credit: Foto Sushi

If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s easy, private and 100% online.


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