Marijuana and Cannabidiol Use Prevalence and Symptom Management Among Patients with Cancer

Cancer Res Commun. 2023 Sep 22;3(9):1917-1926. doi: 10.1158/2767-9764.CRC-23-0233.


Symptoms such as pain, nausea, and anxiety are common in individuals with cancer. Treatment of these issues is often challenging. Cannabis products may be helpful in reducing the severity of these symptoms. While some studies include data on the prevalence of cannabis use among patients with cancer, detailed data remain limited, and none have reported the prevalence of cannabidiol (CBD) use in this population. Adult patients with cancer attending eight clinics at a large, NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center completed a detailed, cannabis-focused questionnaire between 2021 and 2022. Eligible participants were diagnosed with invasive cancer and treated in the past 12 months. Summary statistics were calculated to describe the sample regarding cannabis use. Approximately 15% (n = 142) of consented patients (n = 934) reported current cannabis use (defined as use within the past 12 months). Among which, 75% reported cannabis use in the past week. Among current cannabis users, 39% (n = 56; 6% overall) used CBD products. Current users reported using cannabis a median of 4.5 (interquartile range: 0.6–7.0) days/week, 2.0 (1.0–3.0) times per use/day, and for 3 years (0.8–30.0). Use patterns varied by route of administration. Patients reported moderate to high relief of symptoms with cannabis use. This study is the most detailed to date in terms of cannabis measurement and provides information about the current state of cannabis use in active cancer. Future studies should include complete assessments of cannabis product use, multiple recruitment sites, and diverse patient populations.

Significance: Clinicians should be aware that patients are using cannabis products and perceive symptom relief with its use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cannabidiol* / therapeutic use
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Cannabis* / adverse effects
  • Hallucinogens*
  • Humans
  • Medical Marijuana* / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Pain / chemically induced
  • Prevalence


  • Cannabidiol
  • Medical Marijuana
  • Hallucinogens
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists