Should oncologists trust cannabinoids?
Cannabis enjoyed a “golden age” as a medicinal product in the late 19th, early 20th century, but the increased risk of overdose and abuse led to its criminalization. However, the 21st century have witnessed a resurgence of interest and a large body of literature regarding the benefits of cannabinoids have emerged. As legalization and decriminalization have spread around the world, cancer patients are increasingly interested in the potential utility of cannabinoids. Although eager to discuss cannabis use with their oncologist, patients often find them to be reluctant, mainly because clinicians are still not convinced by the existing evidence-based data to guide their treatment plans. Physicians should prescribe cannabis only if a careful explanation can be provided and follow up response evaluation ensured, making it mandatory for them to be up to date with the positive and also negative aspects of the cannabis in the case of cancer patients. Consequently, this article aims to bring some clarifications to clinicians regarding the sometimes-confusing various nomenclature under which this plant is mentioned, current legislation and the existing evidence (both preclinical and clinical) for the utility of cannabinoids in cancer patients, for either palliation of the associated symptoms or even the potential antitumor effects that cannabinoids may have.