Document Type : Research Articles
Doctor of Public Health Program, Faculty of Public Health, Khon Kaen University, Thailand.
Department of Public Health Administration, Health Promotion, and Nutrition, Faculty of Public Health, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
Objective: Cannabis is therapeutic for numerous medical conditions. The demand for medical cannabis (MC) use in cancer patients is increasing, even with many patients lacking proper knowledge about MC. Therefore, this study aimed to describe the attitudes and beliefs of cancer patients demanding MC use in northern Thailand. Methods: This cross-sectional study administered multistage random sampling to recruit 565 cancer patients who indicated that they demand MC use in northern Thailand. These patients responded to a self-administered structured questionnaire about their feelings on MC. We used descriptive statistics, including frequency and percentage, to describe categorical data, whereas we used mean and standard deviation for continuous data. Results: Out of a total of 565 participants, 59.7% were female, 40.3% were male, and 46.4% were middle-aged adults, with a mean age of 58.3 ± 13.0 years. Of these participants who demanded the use of MC, the top three most common types of cancers were breast cancer (27.8%), colorectal cancer (21.4%), and lung cancer (10.6%). Most of the participants (51.2%) had early-stage cancer, and 46.5% received chemotherapy. We found that patients who demanded MC use had a generally positive attitude (53.3%). Among the patients who required MC use, 55.4% believed that it would help relieve side effects caused by modern treatments, cure cancer (38.8%), relieve suffering from cancer symptoms (30.6%), and cause one to live longer and to improve their health (16.3%). Most patients’ decisions regarding MC use (45.3%) demanded MC use after receiving modern treatments, and 95.6% demanded MC use with modern treatment. Overall, these patients (65.3%) needed MC from the MC clinic in the Government Hospital. Conclusions: This study highlights the attitudes and beliefs towards MC use among cancer patients, their positive expectations of the outcome, and the need for MC use.