Medical Cannabis is an Excellent Pain Reliever for Long-Term Cancer Symptoms, Says New Study

A recent study on medical cannabis as a safe treatment for cancer patients has produced exceptional results. The treatment has not only lessened the burden of the disease related symptoms but also managed to avoid any adverse reactions.

In Israel, 324 cancer patients were administered medical cannabis as an oil for oral application or inhalable substance. The researchers were focusing explicitly on pain measures. A significant improvement was achieved in this segment as more and more patients reported a decline in the pain intensity.

At the start of the study, at least 40% of 126 patients had been utilizing analgesics but, after being prescribed the medical cannabis treatment, a follow up period of 6 months revealed that they had stopped using the pain reliever completely.

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The researchers concluded that in a duration of six months, the treatment helped in bringing down the pain intensity of any cancer symptom by almost 18%, according to the Pharmaceutical Journal.

However, there were 20% of patients that did not experience any change in their pain intensity, it did not lessen nor did it increase. There were also a few cases of dizziness and fatigue noted.

The researchers were therefore able to make an important addition in their findings, that there will not be any similar reactions to the treatment and a little more research and analysis is required to properly underline what benefits the patients and what does not.

David Meiri, assistant professor at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and one of the study authors stated that their research is the first, so far, that assesses the benefits of medical cannabis for cancer-related pain in patients.

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With an aim to determine the effectiveness of this treatment in various groups of cancer patients, Meiri plans to investigate further and come up with results that benefit a wide range of patient and incorporates different cancer types.

"Future studies should investigate the level of effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in specific subgroups of cancer patients with more shared characteristics," he said.

Commenting on the study, Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK, said that while there is a requirement for an in-depth research in this area, studies like this 'add to the body of evidence' that will assist the medical professionals in the future to utilize the medical cannabis treatment with confidence.

He also mentioned that, Cancer Research UK is 'very supportive' of any scientific research that aims to properly examine and analyze the involvement of cannabis in the treatment of patients.

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