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Cannabis-derived Product's Benefits, Drawbacks and Risks as a Cancer Treatment


Dean Sittig

Patients especially are interested in the use of cannabis products in oncology. The added value of curative or palliative cancer care as well as the potential risks associated with it is not sufficiently demonstrated, so they remain a topic of debate despite the abundance of available research data. By reviewing the most recent research, our goal is to make a recommendation regarding the place of cannabis products in clinical oncology. The characteristics, quality, and pharmacology of various cannabis products are discussed. For quality that can be trusted and replicated, standardization is essential. In comparison to inhalation and drinking tea the mucosal/sublingual route of administration is preferred. Cannabinoids might repress efflux carriers and medication utilizing catalysts, conceivably prompting pharmacokinetic collaborations with anticancer medications being substrates for these proteins. This might make the cytostatic effect stronger or make drug-related side effects worse. On the other hand, it might make dose reduction possible. With medications used to treat anorexia, pain, nausea, and vomiting, similar interactions are likely. Cannabis products may improve the quality of life of cancer patients (although this has not been conclusively demonstrated) and are typically well tolerated. The mix with immunotherapy appears to be bothersome in view of the immunosuppressive activity of cannabinoids. To scientifically support (refrain from) using cannabis products in cancer patients, additional clinical research is required.

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