Click to chat


National Cancer Institute's Discussion on Medical Marijuana Use for Cancer Patients


Now that more states are legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, patients are beginning to ask healthcare providers if marijuana could be helpful for their symptoms or side effects of treatments.

As marijuana is federally illegal in the United States, it can be hard for healthcare professionals to find reliable and current information for their patients and families.

The National Cancer Institute has published on its website a discussion of cannabis and cannabinoids relating to cancer.

There are two versions, one for patients and families and another for healthcare professionals.

Both versions present studies that have been conducted with cannabis in the area of anti-tumor activity, stimulating appetite, pain relief, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and sleep.

Unfortunately, no ongoing clinical trials of cannabis as a treatment for cancer in humans have been found in the database maintained by the National Institutes of Health.

There have, however, been studies in clinical trials for ways to manage side effects of cancer and cancer therapies, including nausea and vomiting, stimulating appetite, pain relief, anxiety, and sleep.

Adverse effects of marijuana are also presented.

In the patient version, using simple and clear language, the studies are explained as well as possible uses of cannabis for cancer patients.

This could certainly be helpful information to give to patients and families if they are inquiring about medical marijuana. The information was last updated in December 2017.

The healthcare professionals’ version was updated in August 2018, so there is current information in more depth covering the same topics of symptoms, but with much more detail about the studies with appropriate references for further reading.

This information could assist the healthcare provider in the discussion of the possible uses and adverse effects of marijuana with patients, families and colleagues.

To take a look at each version of the discussion, please click on the following links:


Patient Version


Healthcare Professional