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Marijuana May Improve Quality of Life in Head and Neck Cancer

Marijuana May Improve Quality of Life in Head and Neck Cancer

Wed, Aug 15, 2018

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with newly diagnosed head and neck cancer (HNC), quality of life may improve with marijuana use, according to a study published online Aug. 2 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Han Zhang, M.D., from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study involving patients enrolled at the time of HNC diagnosis. Seventy-four current marijuana users were matched to 74 non-users based on age, sex, and tumor subsite.

The researchers found that there was no statistically significant difference in the mobility, self-care, and usual activities domains of the EuroQol-5D (EQ5D) on univariate analysis. Significantly lower scores were seen in the anxiety/depression (difference, 0.74; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.557 to 0.93) and pain/discomfort (difference, 0.29; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.037 to 1.541) domains for marijuana users. The results of the EQ5D were confirmed in a Wilcoxon rank sum test, with improvements in the pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression domains (z sores, −2.6 and −6.71, respectively). According to the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) questionnaires, marijuana users had less pain; were less tired, less depressed, and less anxious; had more appetite; were less drowsy; and had better general well-being. A statistically significant improvement in ESAS scores was confirmed in a Wilcoxon rank sum test in the domains of anxiety, pain, tiredness, depression, drowsiness, appetite, and general well-being.

"Recreational marijuana use potentially improves quality of life and psychosocial symptoms among patients with newly diagnosed head and neck cancer," the authors write.

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