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Cannabis use is associated with patient and clinical factors in a population-based sample of colorectal cancer survivors

A Correction to this article was published on 19 October 2021

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This study aimed to characterize patient and clinical factors associated with cannabis (marijuana) use among patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC).


We identified CRC patients, diagnosed from 2016 to 2018, using the Seattle-Puget Sound Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) cancer registry. CRC patients were recruited via mail and telephone, and participants completed a questionnaire eliciting information on medical history, demographics, and lifestyle factors, including cannabis use. Cancer stage was obtained from SEER registry data.


Of 1,433 survey respondents, 339 (24%) were current cannabis users. Current cannabis use was associated with younger age at diagnosis, lower BMI, and a higher prevalence of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption (p-value < 0.05). Cannabis use was also associated with lower quality of life scores (FACT-C) and advanced-stage cancer (p-value < 0.05).


Cannabis use among CRC patients was common. Patients with more advanced disease were more likely to report cannabis use. Use also varied by some personal factors, consistent with patterns in the general population. Given the high prevalence of cannabis use among CRC patients, research is needed to determine the benefits and harms of cannabis use for symptom management in cancer patients.

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This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute under award number R01 CA196337, K05 CA152715, P30 CA015704 and T32 CA094880. The authors would like to thank the generous study participants and research staff for their contributions.


PN was funded by R01 CA196337, K05 CA152715, and P30 CA015704.

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Correspondence to P. A. Newcomb.

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The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.

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This study was conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional review board at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

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Newcomb, P.A., Ton, M., Malen, R.C. et al. Cannabis use is associated with patient and clinical factors in a population-based sample of colorectal cancer survivors. Cancer Causes Control 32, 1321–1327 (2021).

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  • Marijuana
  • Cannabis
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Survivorship
  • Epidemiology