Edible cannabis' effects on cancer patients - pain, cognition, quality of life

This controlled observational study tested the effects of legal cannabis edible products on pain, cognition, and quality of life (QoL) in cancer patients. It was published in the journal Exploration of Medicine in April 2023.

The study included 25 patients (13 female) and had a quite robust series of follow-up assessments over two weeks. The average age was about 54. 44% of the participants had stage 4 cancer while 20% had stage 3 cancer. Almost half had received chemotherapy and 16% had received immunotherapy treatment.

Participants were asked to take only one EDIBLE product of their choice for the entire two week period. During that time, patients took cannabis products as they needed them (ad libitum). The most common cancer type was lung, followed by colon and breast cancer.

Effectiveness data was collected at these points in time:

  • a baseline appointment
  • a two-week ad libitum cannabis use period
  • an acute administration appointment that included assessments before cannabis use, one-hour post-use, and two-hour post-use


The patients used 18 different brands of edible products with most using candy (gummies, chocolate) or tinctures. The average daily edible dose taken was 8.3 mg of THC and 11.6 mg of CBD. The maximum doses were about 45 mg THC and about 150 mg CBD.

There were improvements in pain, sleep quality, cognitive abilities, and reaction times. The patients who used higher doses of CBD reported more improvements in sleep quality and pain reduction.

The authors' said:

Sustained cannabis use was associated with improvements in pain intensity, pain interference, sleep quality, subjective cognitive function, and reaction times in the Stroop task, but no change in general quality of life was observed.

High levels of cannabidiol (CBD) use during the two-week ad libitum use period was associated with steeper improvements in pain intensity and sleep quality.

Improvements in pain were associated with improvements in subjective cognitive function.

Participants reported no adverse events related to cannabis use during the two-week ad libitum use period, and no adverse events were observed following acute cannabis administration.


The full text article is here at ExplorationHub.com.