Cancer patients interested in CBD, but understanding lacking

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Cancer patients are interested in the potential benefits of CBD, but don’t know much about it, according to a recent study by researchers at Vanderbilt University.

Respondents to a survey among 100 patients at a supportive oncology care clinic expressed interest in CBD as a way to alleviate symptoms such as uncontrolled pain, depression, and anxiety.

But when asked about their understanding of the risks of CBD use, 45% of participants were unsure of any risks and 17% believed there were low or no risks; 26% of the participants “reported uncertainty of the alleged benefits of using CBD.”

Some participants expressed concern about drug interactions, the lack of FDA regulation, and unlabeled substances in products containing CBD.  

The research was recently published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

Perceived benefits

The most commonly perceived benefits of CBD among those polled were decreased pain, eased anxiety, and relief from nausea.

The research also found that family members and friends are the most common source of information about CBD (47%), followed by social media (36%), and television (31%). Only 13% of the participants said they learned about CBD from a healthcare provider.

The results of the survey can provide oncology nurses with useful insights about patient perceptions of CBD benefits, and help them in discussions with their patients, the report suggests.

“Oncology nurses are well-positioned to educate patients about the lack of evidence to support popular uses of CBD, possible contaminants, misleading advertising, and legal issues,” the researchers wrote.

But the report cautions that “absolute conclusions about the effects of CBD cannot be made.”

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