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Expectations versus reality: Improvement of symptom control and quality of life of oncology patients using medical cannabis

Published on: 22nd July, 2020

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8657517928

Aim: To compare the expectations and the reality of oncology patients in terms of to the use of medical cannabis, including symptom control and related quality of life. Research question: Is there a difference between oncology patients expectations and their reality concerning the use of medical cannabis and what do oncology patients experience regarding symptom control and quality of life? Method: This research was done in a tertiary hospital in Israel at the oncology clinic A comparative study that used self- administered questionnaires for patients who received authorization to use medical cannabis. The first questionnaire was given to patients after receiving the authorization to use medical cannabis and asked about their expectations related to its use. Patients filled out the same questionnaire for the second time, approximately two months after. Comparison of the respondent’s answers, before and after using medical cannabis, showed reality of improving symptom control and Quality of Life. Results: Seventy-four patients completed both questionnaires. Most patients reported advantage in symptom control when using medical cannabis, although their expectations were somewhat higher than the reality experienced. Advantage of using medical cannabis was also found concerning improvement of quality of life. Seventy-five of patients still used medical cannabis once completing the second questionnaire and most of them reported that they would recommend the use of medical cannabis. Conclusion: It can be seen from this study that for many oncology patients the use of medical cannabis may be very helpful. However, the use of cannabis is not free of side effects, as can be seen from the patients’ reports. This has clear implications for oncology nursing practice and may lead to a better understanding of patients using medical cannabis in the future, in terms of its benefit and side effects. 
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