Oncology Nurses: What Cannabinoid Is Your Patient Taking?

by Lindsay Fischer

Oncology Nursing News

September 16, 2022


Karen Hande, PhD(c), DNP, ANP-BC, CNE, FAANP, ANEF, explains the difference between some of the popular cannabinoid products that patients with cancer may be taking.





Cannabinoids are becoming more popular for patients with cancer as a pain management strategy. However, with inconsistent laws across states and federal bodies, it can be difficult for nurses and patients to comfortably discuss cannabinoids and cannabinoid use.


As the public perception and patient success stories with unconventional, alternative, and natural therapeutics shift consumer attitudes, it is important for nurses and their patients to understand the differences in the products and the adverse effects associated with each. According to a study by Butler et al in 2021, nearly half of individuals who participated in a survey who had consumed cannabidiol (CBD) did not disclose use to their health care provider...


Cannabinoids Vs Cannabis


A key concept for oncology nurses to understand, according to Hande, is the variations of cannabinoids.


Cannabinoids are compounds found in the cannabis plant. These compounds interact with the human endocannabinoid system. The exact relationship still required further understanding.


“Cannabis has many names for [many] strains, and hemp and marijuana are under this big umbrella of cannabis plants; they are all considered to be 1 species: the cannabis sativa plant,” she said. “This is a genus of flowering plants. And these can contain about over 100 phytocannabinoids, [and] they have a wide range of effects on the body in the brain...”


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