MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – State health officials say that cancer patients in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program are reporting that the treatment is helping them cope with symptoms ranging from pain to depression.

The Minnesota Department of Health announced Monday the findings of a two-year study involving 1,120 cancer patients enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program who were surveyed about their systems before and after they started treatment.

The research, which was published last month in the Journal of Oncology Practice, found that the patients reported a “significant reduction” in the severity of symptoms in the first four months of cannabis treatment. The symptoms tracked were anxiety, lack of appetite, depression, disturbed sleep, fatigue, nausea, pain, and vomiting.

One of the symptoms to see the biggest declines was vomiting. About half of the patients in the study reported experiencing a 30-percent decline in vomiting after four months.

As for side-effects of using cannabis, slightly more than 10 percent of patients reported experiencing things like dry-mouth, tiredness and increased appetite.

Health officials say that due to the tight regulations around Minnesota’s medical cannabis program, it allows researchers an unique scientific opportunity to study the potential of cannabis as medicine. One study that is expected to be completed this summer is focusing on how cannabis affects opioid use and pain management in advanced cancer patients.

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