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.

DOI: 10.1002/cam4.6634


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.