Prostate cancer patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) often experience a combination of disease symptoms and treatment side effects.
Canadian scientists at the Faculty of Medicine in Toronto, Canada, have studied the influence of therapeutic cannabis on patients undergoing this type of treatment. The study is, of course, available by clicking on this link.
The therapeutic use of cannabis to alleviate these side effects has not been studied, despite growing patient interest. With the increasing availability of cannabis, clinicians need ,therefore, to understand the prevalence, predictors and perceived benefits of cannabis use in patients with prostate cancer.
Medical Cannabis and Relief
A total of 222 men undergoing ADT were evaluated in this two-part study. Firstly, the cannabis use questionnaire administered to 56 men, exploring demographics, patterns of use, outlook, and levels of symptom relief related to cannabis use. While in the second part, 191 cryopreserved urine samples recovered and analyzed for the metabolite tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 11-nor-Δ9-THC-COOH. Respondents were then stratified into two groups, users vs. non-users, and statistical analyses were performed.
The results of the study
Questionnaire data revealed that 23.2% of the men surveyed had recently used cannabis.Conversely , 5.8% of the men had detectable levels of the THC metabolite in their urine.
- Combined questionnaire and urine data reveal that cannabis users are significantly younger (p = 0.003) with lower testosterone levels (p = 0.003) than non-users.
- Following cannabis use the majority of men experiencing common side effects of ADT reported some relief .
- Cannabis use in men with advanced prostate cancer receiving ADT is more common than in the general population and the majority of other oncology cohorts.
- Generally , lower testosterone levels and a reported therapeutic benefit in cannabis users warrant confirmation in appropriate clinical trials.