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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dan Jin

A Randomized Trial of Medical Cannabis in Patients with Stage IV Cancers to Access Safety, Efficacy,

Medical cannabis has been increasingly used in patients with cancer mainly for pain management. However, the questions about safety, efficacy, and dosing remain. Recently, a randomized, controlled trial (RCT) was conducted using state-sponsored medical cannabis program to investigate the feasibility, dose requirements, impact on pain and opioid use, safety and overall patient satisfaction in the US, aiming to provide clinical data to guide patients and clinicians.  

In total thirty patients with stage IV cancer requiring opioids were randomized 1:1 to early cannabis (EC, n=15) versus delayed start cannabis (DC, n=15). The EC group obtained 3 months of cannabis while the DC group received standard oncology care without cannabis for the first 3 months. Patients completed surveys on pain levels, opioid/cannabis use, side effects, and overall satisfaction with the study. 

The average daily administrated THC and CBD among 3 M were 34 mg and 17 mg, respectively. A higher portion of the EC patients achieved a reduction in opioid use and improved pain control. No serious safety issues were reported and high satisfaction were reported. This study showed that the addition of medical cannabis to standard oncology treatment was well-tolerated and may reduced the cancer pain and opioid usages. Larger clinical trials may guide on how to incorporate medical cannabis safely and effectively for cancer patients.  



  1. Zylla, D. M. et al. A randomized trial of medical cannabis in patients with stage IV cancers to assess feasibility, dose requirements, impact on pain and opioid use, safety, and overall patient satisfaction. Support. Care Cancer Off. J. Multinatl. Assoc. Support. Care Cancer 29, 7471–7478 (2021). 

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