As consumers signaled an erosion of the stigma behind marijuana use while a Supreme Court judge issues an injunction to an NY dispensary. Six companies received warnings from FDA and FTC for selling food products containing Delta 8 THC. Meanwhile, a store owner in PA was arrested for selling Delta 8. This week we’re sharing a study on cancer patients and the impact of CBD on palliative care.

Half of American adults have tried Marijuana

The FDA and FTC issue warnings about Delta 8

Pennsylvania store owner arrested for selling Delta 8

Supreme Court Judge issues an injunction on new dispensary licenses in NY

Exploring the Role of CBD Oil in Easing Symptoms for Advanced Cancer Patients

Phase IIb Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Dose-Escalating, Double-Blind Study of Cannabidiol Oil for the Relief of Symptoms in Advanced Cancer (MedCan1-CBD)

Why we think it’s important:

There is no detectable effect of CBD on quality of life, depression or anxiety in patients with advanced cancer receiving palliative care.

For patients with advanced cancer, symptom distress can greatly impact their quality of life. In the pursuit of improved palliative care, researchers conducted a study to investigate whether cannabidiol (CBD) oil could help alleviate these distressing symptoms.

The Study’s Goal:
The primary aim of the study was to determine if CBD oil could provide symptom relief to patients with advanced cancer who were undergoing palliative care. Researchers sought to understand whether CBD oil could significantly reduce symptom distress and enhance the overall well-being of these patients. Symptom distress refers to the discomfort, unease, or negative impact experienced by an individual due to the symptoms of a medical condition or illness. It encompasses the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of symptoms on a person’s well-being and quality of life. In the context of medical research, symptom distress is often used to measure the extent to which symptoms affect a person’s daily life and functioning.

Study Methods:
The study enrolled adults with advanced cancer and experiencing significant symptom distress, as measured by the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS). The Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) is a tool that helps doctors and researchers understand how much distress or discomfort a person is feeling due to different symptoms. These symptoms can include things like pain, nausea, tiredness, and others. The scale asks people to rate each symptom on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means no distress at all and 10 means the most distress possible. This helps healthcare professionals get a better idea of how these symptoms affect a person’s well-being and quality of life. The ESAS is often used to track changes in symptoms over time and to see how treatments might be working to make people feel better. In this study, a participant with a total score of at least 10 out of 90 was determined as experiencing significant symptom distress. The participants were randomly assigned to two groups: one group received titrated CBD oil, while the other group received a placebo. CBD oil doses ranged from 0.5 mL to 2 mL three times a day. The study spanned 28 days.

Key Findings:
From the study participants randomly assigned, 58 individuals received CBD and 63 received a placebo. After 14 days, the researchers measured the total symptom distress score (TSDS) using ESAS. TSDS, unlike ESAS, calculates the total distress caused by all the symptoms collectively. It involves adding up the individual distress scores from each symptom. This provides an overall measure of the person’s symptom burden or the cumulative impact of multiple symptoms on their well-being. The TSDS is useful for capturing the holistic effect of symptoms on a person’s quality of life and can help healthcare professionals prioritize interventions and treatments. Interestingly, the reduction in TSDS was observed in both groups, but there was no significant difference between the CBD oil group and the placebo group. This suggests that CBD oil did not provide an additional benefit beyond the symptom relief provided by specialist palliative care alone.
The researchers also examined various secondary outcomes, including individual symptom scores, patient-determined effective dose, opioid use, Global Impression of Change, depression, anxiety, quality of life, and adverse events. Despite the positive impact on individual symptom scores over time for both groups, CBD oil did not show a substantial advantage in terms of quality of life, depression, or anxiety compared to the placebo.

In conclusion, the study’s results indicate that CBD oil did not offer significant added value in reducing symptom distress for patients receiving specialist palliative care for advanced cancer. While both groups experienced improvements in symptom distress and participants reported feeling better, the CBD oil group did not demonstrate a distinct advantage over the placebo group. This research underscores the importance of exploring various avenues for symptom relief in advanced cancer patients, while also highlighting that CBD oil may not provide substantial additional benefits in the context of palliative care. Further studies are needed to deepen our understanding of CBD’s potential effects in this specific setting.