The New MM: Medical Marijuana

Most oncology nurses associate the abbreviation MM with multiple myeloma, but there’s a new MM now in use: medical marijuana. To date, 31 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico have approved MM for certain medical uses, including cancer-related adverse events (AEs).1 Patients are asking their oncology nurses if MM might help them and in some cases, after researching the topic themselves, asking very specific questions. Nurses need to be prepared to respond to questions on how MM is supplied and taken, its risks and benefits, and efficacy and safety considerations.

The Cannabis plant, commonly referred to as cannabis and known as marijuana, among other names, produces psychoactive compounds called cannabinoids. Synthetic medications containing cannabinoids, available by prescription, include dronabinol (Marinol) and nabilone (Cesamet). Cannabinoids can be inhaled as smoke or vapor or taken orally (eg, in brownies and other foods).2

Little information is available on the benefits of

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