Cannabis in Cancer Survivors Who Report High Impact Chronic Pain: Findings from a 1500+ Patient Survey

Lindsey M. Philpot, Priya Ramar, Aminah Jatoi, Jordan Rosedahl, Rachel Canning, Jon O. Ebbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic pain in cancer survivors negatively impacts quality of life. This study sought to investigate the relationship between high-impact chronic pain (HICP) -- defined as chronic pain that limits life or work activities on most days or every day in the past 3 months -- and cannabis in cancer survivors. Methods: An electronic survey was developed in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States. This survey was distributed to cancer survivors within a multi-site, single institution setting. Results: The survey response rate was 23.0% (2304/10,000); 72.7% of these patients (1676/2304) did in fact have a confirmed cancer diagnosis. Among these cancer survivors, 16.5% (unweighted 278/1676) had HICP, and 12.4% (208/1676) reported cannabis use since their cancer diagnosis. The prevalence of past 30-day cannabis use was 12.3% (206/1676). Compared to cancer survivors without pain, those with HICP were more likely to believe in the benefits of cannabis (unweighted 92.1% vs. 74.7%; age-adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 3.1; 95% CI: 1.9-5.1) and less likely to believe in its risks (unweighted 48.2% vs. 58.4%; age-adjusted OR = 0.6; 95% CI: 0.4-0.7). Conclusions: Cancer survivors with HICP have a higher prevalence of cannabis use compared to those patients without pain. More research is needed to advance pain and symptom management among cancer survivors and to identify clinical scenarios in which benefit is greater than potential harm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1196-1204
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • cancer
  • cannabis
  • chronic pain
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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