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Cannabidiol (CBD) Use by Cancer Treatment Status in South Florida Adults at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Elayna Bassuk
University of Miami

Co-Authors: Amrit Baral, Denise C Vidot
University of Miami

Background: Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the primary cannabinoids in the cannabis plant that has been reported to have benefits such as pain management, anti-inflammation, and an anxiolytic agent. Evidence suggests increased prevalence of CBD use as a palliative and/or adjunct therapy among cancer patients globally. Yet, there is a lack of literature on the prevalence and perceived benefits of CBD among cancer patients at various stages of cancer treatment.

Methods: Data utilized in this analysis is from the National Cancer Institute-funded study titled “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Assess Frequency, Patterns, and Reasons for Cannabis Use among Sociodemographic Diverse Cancer Patients”. Cannabis use, cancer status, and perceived benefits were self-reported via a survey administered in REDCap to patients within Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Survey was administered in English and Spanish. Descriptive statistics were calculated to estimate the proportions of CBD use and its perceived benefits, using SAS Analytics.

Results: Of the total cancer patients (N=495) [mean age:45.9 years (SD=15.1)], 51.8% were male, 39.4% were Hispanic/LatinX, and 63.1% consumed cannabis in the past 30 days [current cannabis users (CCUs)]. Cancer treatment status among CCUs were 15.5% newly diagnosed, 43.8% under treatment, 35.4% completed therapy/following up, and 5.3% were not receiving treatment at time of survey. Among CCUs, 13.7% reported CBD as their dominant cannabinoid. Within this group, the majority were undergoing treatment (45.2%), followed by those who finished treatment/follow-up (41.9%), those not receiving treatment (9.7%), and newly diagnosed patients (3.2%). Perceived benefits of cannabis use among CBD users were pain management (72.4%), relief from stress, anxiety, or depression (17.3%), managing nausea and vomiting (3.5%), improved sleep (3.4%), and relief from neuropathy (3.4%).

Conclusions: Majority of CBD-dominant CCUs reported pain management as a perceived benefit which highlights the analgesic property of CBD in cancer care. Results also indicate CBD was reported to alleviate mental health symptoms as well as other symptoms potentially arising as side-effects of cancer treatment. These insights underscore the multifaceted role of CBD in cancer patients’ lives and warrant further exploration into personalized healthcare approaches in oncology settings to improve cancer patients’ experiences, treatment, prognosis, and quality of life.