Manan M. Nayak, Peter R. Chai, Stephanie Tung, James A. Tulsky, Marilyn Hammer, Nicole Andrade, Ilana M. Braun
October 4, 2023
A minority of oncologists feel qualified to advise adults with can- cer on issues pertaining to medicinal cannabis. Adults with cancer frequently access medicinal cannabis information from non-medical sources such as cannabis dispensaries. We explored dispensary personnel’s views and experiences regard- ing oncologic cannabis and the counsel they extend individuals with cancer. Methods: Snowball sampling in this qualitative study facilitated recruitment across 13 states (N = 26). Semi-structured phone interviews ceased with thematic saturation. A multi-stage thematic analysis combined inductive and deductive codes.
Of the 26 dispensary personnel interviewed, 54% identified as female and 19% as non-white. Median age was 40years. A consensus emerged among participants concerning the botanical’s efficacy for cancer-related symptoms; less so regarding its antineoplastic potential. Principles for serving those with cancer included provision of client-centered, symptom-based, and trial-and-error ap- proaches. Non-inhalation modes of administration were generally recommended. No consensus was reached as to whether delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinal (THC)- or cannabidiol-predominant products were preferable in this population. Challenges in oncologic advising included successfully identifying individuals with cancer at the dispensary counter, financial toxicity, the special treatment required for the THC-naïve, and operating in the absence of standardized guidelines.
These informed assertions suggest that members of the onco- logic community should grapple with the extent to which they feel comfortable with both the nature and degree of counsel adults with cancer receive through dispensaries.
Nayak, M. M., Chai, P. R., Tung, S., Tulsky, J. A., Hammer, M., Andrade, N., & Braun, I. M. (2023). Dispensary personnel’s views and experiences regarding oncologic cannabis and the counsel they offer adults with cancer. Cancer Medicine.