Marijuana use helps head and neck cancer patients

Recreational users have less pain, more appetite and better wellbeing

Recreational marijuana use is associated with improved quality of life in patients newly diagnosed with head and neck cancer, according to Canadian researchers.

Treating head and neck cancer-related stress and anxiety is challenging, Dr Michael Gupta, of McMaster University in Hamilton, and colleagues note in JAMA — Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

Given the known ability of Cannabis sativa "to facilitate relaxation, relieve anxiety and decrease pain", patients with head and neck cancers may be ideal candidates for treatment with marijuana, they add; however, data is lacking.

To investigate, the researchers matched 74 patients who were current marijuana users with 74 non-users based on age, sex and tumour subsite. 

Quality-of-life data was collected prospectively and outcome was assessed using the EuroQol-5D (EQ5D) and the Edmonton Symptom