- A significant proportion of patients with cancer report cannabis use.
- Cannabis use has increased over time in patients with and without cancer.
Why this matters
- Although patients with cancer were more likely to use opioids, opioid use did not increase over time.
- "Medical marijuana legalization has previously been associated with a reduction in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse, suggesting that if patients are in fact substituting marijuana for opioids, this may introduce an opportunity for reducing opioid-related morbidity and mortality,” a coauthor said in a news release.
- Data for 19,604 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey respondents aged 20-60 years during 2005-2014; 4.2% reported having cancer.
- 826 patients with cancer were propensity score-matched with 1652 noncancer "controls."
- Funding: NIH.
- Patients with cancer reported greater rates past-year (40.3% vs 38.0%) and current cannabis use (8.7% vs 6.6%).
- Patients with cancer were more than twice as likely to use opioids (13.9% vs 6.4%; OR=2.43; P<.001 and smoke cigarettes vs or="1.34; P=.005).</li">
- In multivariate analysis, cancer was tied to higher odds of opioid use (aOR=1.82; P=.008) but not current cannabis use.
- Overall, odds of cannabis use increased over the 10-year span (9.3% to 12.3%; OR per 2-year span=1.05; P=.012), but opioid use remained stable.
- No statistically significant difference in longitudinal odds of cannabis or opioid use in patients with vs without cancer.
- Patient-reported data.
- Cross-sectional design.