Medical Cannabis

What is Medical Cannabis?

Cannabis is a flower, also called Marijuana.

The two main types are cannabis sativa and cannabis indica plants.

Medical Cannabis, Marijuana, is given to cancer patients mainly to stimulate appetite, increase weight, reduce nausea, relieve pain and more.

What are “cannabinoids”?

The leaves and flowers in their dry form of Cannabis contains chemicals called cannabinoids, the most famous of which are THC, CBD and CBN.

“Cannabinoids” is a term that scientists use to refer to a large group of compounds that exert their effect on humans through cannabinoid receptors.

A receptor is a protein that sits on or inside cells in our body and can affect the cell behavior when a molecule that matches it completely, binds to it.

What are the main types of cannabinoids?

There are three main types of cannabinoids:

  • Phytocannabinoids are those that occur naturally in the cannabis or marijuana plant
  • Endocannabinoids are those that arise within the body
  • Synthetic cannabinoids are those that scientists create in the laboratory

What is known about the relationship between medical cannabis and cancer?

The research on the medical uses of cannabinoids has focused mainly on the treatment of pain and anxiety and depression conditions.

However, recently, scientists have shown growing interest in the anti-cancer potential of the cannabinoids.

There is a need for further research to understand better how these compounds work, what is their exact mode of action and how to make them more potent and effective against glioblastoma, colorectal cancer and other cancer types.

Green cannabis plants during daytime

Read our publications on medical cannabis and cancer:

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Cannabidiol oil failed to overcome palliative care in advanced cancer


The use of cannabis for therapeutic benefit has risen exponentially over the past few years with strong public belief in its benefit.

This is despite very limited evidence of benefit and no clear guidance around which cannabinoid or combination to use for which indication and at what dose.

This trial aimed to determine whether cannabidiol (CBD), a key component of cannabis, resulted in better symptom control in patients with advanced cancer than standard palliative care.

About the study

This phase II randomized clinical trial assessed whether pure cannabidiol (CBD) oil (without THC) can improve symptom burden compared with placebo in patients with advanced cancer receiving standard palliative care.

There was no significant difference between the two groups.

CBD oil had no significant effect on the quality of life, depression, or anxiety.

These results indicate that CBD oil does not improve symptom burden in patients with advanced cancer.

Importantly, this study used pure CBD oil without THC. Future studies should evaluate the efficacy of THC in the improvement of symptom burden in patients with advanced cancer.


To determine whether cannabidiol (CBD) oil can improve symptom distress in patients with advanced cancer receiving palliative care.


Participants were adults with advanced cancer and symptom distress who received titrated CBD oil 100 mg/mL, 0.5 mL once daily to 2 mL three times a day, or matched placebo for 28 days.


Of the 144 patients randomly assigned, the planned sample size of 58 participants on CBD and 63 on placebo.

No significant difference was seen between arms.

Similarly, there was no detected difference in proportion of responders (placebo: 37 of 63, CBD: 26 of 58.

All components of which were measured improved over time with no difference between arms.

The median dose of participant-selected CBD was 400 mg per day with no correlation with opioid dose.

There was no detectable effect of CBD on quality of life, depression, or anxiety.

Adverse events did not differ significantly between arms apart from dyspnea that was more common with CBD.

Most participants reported feeling better or much better at days 14 and 28.


CBD oil did not add value to the reduction in symptom distress provided by specialist palliative care alone.

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Cannabidiol oil failed to overcome palliative care in advanced cancer
Cannabidiol oil failed to overcome palliative care in advanced cancer

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