Exploring cancer survivors’ attitudes, perceptions, and concerns about using medical cannabis for symptom and side effect management: A qualitative focus group study

David Victorson*, Megan McMahon, Bruriah Horowitz, Sydney Glickson, Brandy Parker, Leslie Mendoza-Temple

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to gain a greater understanding of cancer survivors’ attitudes, perspectives, and concerns about medical cannabinoids (MCs) for cancer symptom and side effect management. Using qualitative methods, we conducted four focus groups (n = 19) with cancer survivors recruited from a community-based cancer wellness center. Groups were audio-recorded and facilitated by experienced co-moderators who directed discussion using a semi-structured interview guide. Transcripts were coded using principles from Grounded Theory. Analyses revealed the following ten themes and percentages of codes applied: 1) Attitudes & Beliefs (25.3%), 2) Access (17.1%), 3) Information (15.5%), 4) Concern (14%), 5) How MCs Helped (12.6%), 6) Comfort (4.3%), 7) Confusion (3.6%), 8) Trust/Distrust (3.1%), 9) Behaviors (2.3%), and 10) Support (2.2%). Participants reported that MCs offer potential benefits for symptom management and side effect relief, especially in reducing and managing pain. Despite the growing number of states that are legalizing MCs, significant barriers exist that make knowledge and adequate access a challenge for many.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102204
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Volume47
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Cancer survivors
  • Medical cannabis
  • Medical oncology
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

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