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Health Literacy and Demand for Medical Cannabis use among Colorectal Cancer Patients in Northern Thailand: A Cross-Sectional Study.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore health literacy and factors associated with demand for medical cannabis (MC) use among colorectal cancer (CRC) patients in Northern Thailand as a target group.

METHODS: This cross-sectional analytical study administered multistage random sampling to recruit 439 CRC patients in northern Thailand. Ethical approval and signed written informed consents were obtained from the patients, prior to the study. A standardized, self-administered structured questionnaire was used to obtain the sociodemographic characteristics, clinical characteristics, social support, attitudes toward MC, knowledge about MC, health literacy about MC, and questions on demand for MC use. The scores from all questionnaires were converted to percentages before analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 146 (33.26%) of patients with CRC reported demand to use MC. The multivariable analysis revealed that factors associated with demand for MC among CRC patients included: had high levels of health literacy about MC (adj.OR = 7.71; 95% CI: 4.28 to 13.87), aged less than 45 years (adj.OR =5.09; 95% CI: 2.78 to 9.34), positive attitudes toward MC use (adj.OR = 4.66; 95% CI: 2.68 to 8.10), and higher levels of social support (adj.OR =4.14; 95% CI: 2.39 to 7.17) when controlling effect of other covariates.

CONCLUSIONS: Health literacy is an important factor affecting the demand for MC use of CRC patients. Therefore, improving health literacy, social support, and attitudes about MC especially among younger CRC patients, could help increase demand for MC as a complementary and alternative medicine alongside cancer treatment.

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