Journal Article Annotations
2023, 4th Quarter
Annotations by Richard Key, MD
People with high impact cancer pain (HICP), defined as chronic pain that limits life or work activities on most days or every day in the past three months, tend to have higher rates of cannabis use. This population is most likely to believe more relief of symptoms with cannabis use that include pain and also sleep problems, mood changes, stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. People with HICP are more likely than those without HICP to support the potential benefits of cannabis and less likely to be skeptical of the risks of cannabis use.
Strength and weaknesses:
The major strength of this survey is that it investigates patterns and purpose of cannabis use in cancer survivors. Weaknesses are significant and include a low response rate with some skewing towards older, retired, and educated respondents and thus results may not generalize well. The cross-sectional design cannot definitively determine that the cause of pain in patients was cancer. It is best considered as a very small pilot on which further investigation is warranted.
C-L psychiatrists often provide care for cancer patients dealing with HICP in both inpatient and outpatient settings. It is important for us to be aware of patterns and purpose of cannabis use, and to be proactive in discussing the patients their cannabis use. We are well positioned to provide education on known risks to those using cannabis to minimize harm.