Medical Marijuana: Different Tokes for Different Folks (and Health Conditions)

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Over time, people with cancer who use medical marijuana are more likely to choose forms with increasingly higher amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than people with other health conditions, who prefer to use products with higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD), shows a new study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine. Those with cancer are also more likely to use medical marijuana droplets that are placed under the tongue instead of smoking or vaping.

The two most common types of medical marijuana contain both THC and CBD, but in opposite 20:1 ratios. THC is the substance in cannabis that relieves cancer symptoms and treatment side effects, such as chronic pain, weight loss, and nausea. CBD can help reduce the number of seizures in people with epilepsy and ease inflammation in conditions like multiple sclerosis, or MS.

Researchers from NYU conducted the recent study, which didn’t include information about cancer types, amounts of marijuana bought and used, or whether it was used for symptoms unrelated to cancer or its treatment. Clinical research involving the use of medical marijuana has been limited, the researchers note, and looking at how people with a variety of health conditions are using it will provide key information about what may and may not work for people with cancer, MS, epilepsy, and other serious health conditions.