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Exploring the Clinical Efficacy of Medicinal Cannabis in Cancer Patients


Despite the recent legalization of Cannabis in Canada, there remains much uncertainty and conspiracy regarding the drug’s clinical efficacy. This video serves to provide some clarity regarding the efficacy of Cannabis in clinical settings; specifically in the context of pain relief for cancer patients, as well as looking at the patient response to medicinal cannabis as a potential indicator for immunotherapy efficacy. This video will initially explain the endocannabinoid system such that the viewer can better understand the underlying biochemical mechanisms and pathways that are commonly referenced in the video.

Video by McMaster University Health and Life Sciences Undergraduate students Piraveenaa Baskaran, Zein Abdul-Rahman, and Agnya Batra in collaboration with the McMaster Demystifying Medicine program.

Copyright McMaster University 2020

For more information and resources, please refer to the references below;
1. Blake A, Wan BA, Malek L, DeAngelis C, Diaz P, Lao N, O’Hearn S. A selective review of medical cannabis in cancer pain management. Annals of palliative medicine. 2017 Dec 1;6(suppl 2):s215-22. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shannon_Ohearn/publication/319398959_A_sel ective_review_of_medical_cannabis_in_cancer_pain_management/links/5a159d8845 85153b546c8fbd/A-selective-review-of-medical-cannabis-in-cancer-pain-managemen t.pdf
2. Macari DM, Gbadamosi B, Jaiyesimi I, Gaikazian S. Medical Cannabis in Cancer Patients: A Survey of a Community Hematology Oncology Population. American journal of clinical oncology. 2020 Sep 1;43(9):636-9. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32496348/
3. Bar-Sela G, Cohen I, Campisi-Pinto S, Lewitus GM, Oz-Ari L, Jehassi A, Peer A, Turgeman I, Vernicova O, Berman P, Wollner M. Cannabis Consumption Used by Cancer Patients during Immunotherapy Correlates with Poor Clinical Outcome. Cancers. 2020 Sep;12(9):2447. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/12/9/2447

4. Vigano A, Canac-Marquis M, Gamaoun R, Beaulieu P, Neron A, Moride Y, Martell MO, Desroches J, Perez J. The Quebec Cannabis Registry: a pharmacovigilance and effectiveness study on the use of medical cannabis in cancer patients. Available from: https://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2020.38.15_suppl.12109
5. Chye, Y., Christensen, E., Solowij, N., & Yücel, M. (2019). The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabidiol’s Promise for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorder. ​Frontiers in Psychiatry,​ ​10,​ 1-12. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00063
6. Lu, H., & Mackie, K. (2016). An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System. Biological Psychiatry,​ ​79​(7), 516-525. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.07.028
7. Sallaberry, C., & Astern, L. (2018). The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator. Journal of Young Investigators,​ ​34​(6), 48-55. doi:10.22186/jyi.34.5.48-55


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