Using Medical Cannabis in an Oncology Practice


Donald I. Abrams

Published in Oncology

May 2016



As oncologists, we treat patients who have devastating diagnoses with potent therapies. Hence, we demand solid evidence before recommending any intervention. Unfortunately, when it comes to supporting the use of cannabis in clinical situations, we are frustrated by a dearth of convincing evidence. Data from gold-standard prospective randomized controlled clinical trials are virtually nonexistent. One reason for this is that the only legal source of cannabis for research in the United States is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). NIDA has a congressional mandate to study substances of abuse only as substances of abuse and not as therapeutic interventions. Although NIDA can supply cannabis for clinical trials to assess its effectiveness, funding must come from elsewhere. However, in this era of gene therapy and nanotechnology, few investigators are interested in studying this ancient botanical medicine. In addition, just as cancer is many diseases, cannabis is many different strains, so standardization of cannabis medicine is a challenge.


PMID: 27188670



Abrams DI. Using Medical Cannabis in an Oncology Practice. Oncology (Williston Park). 2016;30(5):397-404. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27188670. Accessed March 24, 2020.