The administration of oral THC (e.g., dronabinol) is associated with prolonged survival times in patients with advanced illnesses who are at the end-stages of their lives, according to preliminary data posted online by a team of German researchers. 

Investigators assessed the use of cannabis-based medicines in relation to survival times in a cohort of patients in Specialized Palliative Outpatient Care (SAPV). SAPV offers team-based home care for patients with advanced and progressive diseases whose life expectancies are limited to days, weeks or months. 

Researchers reported, “The therapy with CBM [cannabis-based medicines] was associated with prolonged median survival … from 44 to 65 days.” Prolonged survival was most pronounced among female patients and those over 75 years of age. 

Authors concluded, “From the available data, we can conclude that … CBM therapy should be included as first line therapy for the patient groups considered due to the significant prolongation of survival time.” 

They added: “Due to the pressing relevance of our observations for palliative care patients, we are making the preliminary data from our ongoing retrospective study available in this pre-publication. Based on the current trend in the evaluation, we consider that patients could promptly benefit from a low and slowly increasing dose.”

A summary of the data, “Cannabis-based medicines prolong survival time in patients under Specialized Palliative Outpatient Care,” is available online.

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