The Management of Cancer Symptoms and Treatment-Induced Side Effects With Cannabis or Cannabinoids

J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2021 Nov 28;2021(58):86-98. doi: 10.1093/jncimonographs/lgab011.


Cannabis and cannabinoids are increasingly being accessed and used by patients with advanced cancer for various symptoms and general quality of life. Specific symptoms of pain, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and cachexia, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and medical trauma are among those that have prompted patients with cancer to use cannabis. This conference report from the National Cancer Institute's "Cannabis, Cannabinoid and Cancer Research Symposium" on the topic of "Cancer Symptom/Treatment Side Effect Management" is an expert perspective of cannabis intervention for cancer and cancer treatment-related symptoms. The purpose of the symposium was to identify research gaps, describe the need for high-quality randomized prospective studies of medical cannabis for palliative care in patients with cancer, and evaluate the impact of medical cannabis on cancer survivors' quality of life. Further, education of clinicians and affiliated health-care providers in guiding cancer patients in using cannabis for cancer care would benefit patients. Together, these steps will further aid in refining the use of cannabis and cannabinoids for symptom palliation and improve safety and efficacy for patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Congresses as Topic
  • Humans
  • Medical Marijuana* / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms* / complications
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Quality of Life


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Medical Marijuana