Donald I. Abrams, MD | Authors

Using Medical Cannabis in an Oncology Practice

May 15, 2016

Many things can influence how a person will respond to the use of cannabis medicines. Past experience, “set and setting,” and even pharmacogenomics may all play a role. We recommend a self-titrated dosing regimen for the patient as the safest option, rather than attempting to prescribe an actual dose.


October 26, 2010

Rhetoric aside, initiatives such as comparative effectiveness and ACOs are designed to cut the costs of healthcare. Is there a way to effectively cut the cost of cancer care and maintain quality?

Integrative Oncology: Principles and Practice

July 01, 2006

The emerging field of integrative oncology now has a definitive textbook, thanks to the Herculean effort of Matthew P. Mumber. Dr. Mumber regards integrative oncology as "the next step in the evolution of cancer care [including] the use of evidence based-tools [that] have their origin both in Western, conventional medicine and in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) traditions."

Cannabis Has Potential as a Drug to Relieve the Side Effects of Cancer and Its Treatment

March 01, 2006

Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. A body of evidence suggests that this plant, which contains hundreds of active compounds, has potential value for certain patients undergoing cancer treatment. However, largely due to nonscientific political issues, marijuana is still classified as a schedule I drug—an illegal substance having a "high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use in the United States." This classification, which has been repeatedly challenged, greatly complicates scientific research of this plant's medical potential.

A World Away: So Much Need, So Few Resources

February 01, 2006

Last year, I had the opportunity to spend a week at a cancer institute in equatorial Africa. A colleague of mine, Waafa El-Sadr, MD, heads a Columbia University program establishing health-care units in African nations to treat HIV-infected people with antiretro-viral drugs. Waafa was initiating one such unit at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) in Dar el Salaam, Tanzania. When doctors there expressed a need for a visiting oncologist to update them on issues relevant to HIV-infected patients with cancer, Wafaa thought of me. She felt that my experience treating AIDS patients in the days prior to the elaborate regimens we now have would be particularly instructive in the ORCI setting.

Current Perspectives on Pain in AIDS

July 01, 2002

Concern about prescribing controlled substances underlies, in part, the undertreatment of pain, even in palliative care settings. That the same is true for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients is therefore not surprising, particularly given injection drug use as a risk factor.

Current Therapeutic Options for Kaposi's Sarcoma

June 02, 1996

Treatment options for patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) have changed very little over the past decade. Research has been hampered by the absence of an accepted