Cannabis use is associated with patient and clinical factors in a population-based sample of colorectal cancer survivors

Cancer Causes Control. 2021 Dec;32(12):1321-1327. doi: 10.1007/s10552-021-01468-4. Epub 2021 Jul 14.


Purpose: This study aimed to characterize patient and clinical factors associated with cannabis (marijuana) use among patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC).

Methods: We identified CRC patients, diagnosed from 2016 to 2018, using the Seattle-Puget Sound Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) cancer registry. CRC patients were recruited via mail and telephone, and participants completed a questionnaire eliciting information on medical history, demographics, and lifestyle factors, including cannabis use. Cancer stage was obtained from SEER registry data.

Results: Of 1,433 survey respondents, 339 (24%) were current cannabis users. Current cannabis use was associated with younger age at diagnosis, lower BMI, and a higher prevalence of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption (p-value < 0.05). Cannabis use was also associated with lower quality of life scores (FACT-C) and advanced-stage cancer (p-value < 0.05).

Conclusion: Cannabis use among CRC patients was common. Patients with more advanced disease were more likely to report cannabis use. Use also varied by some personal factors, consistent with patterns in the general population. Given the high prevalence of cannabis use among CRC patients, research is needed to determine the benefits and harms of cannabis use for symptom management in cancer patients.

Keywords: Cannabis; Colorectal cancer; Epidemiology; Marijuana; Survivorship.

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Cannabis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Survivors