Dr. Donald Abrams
Professor Emeritus of Medicine

UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
1545 Divisadero St., 4th Floor
San Francisco, California 94115
United States

Type of Practice:
Integrative Oncology Consultation

Education Associations

University of California San Francisco

Brown University/Stanford School of Medicine/UCSF Oncology Fellowship/ASCO/SIO/ICRS/IACM


Donald I. Abrams, MD. is a Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He has an Integrative Oncology consultation practice at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. He received an A.B. in Molecular Biology from Brown University in 1972 and graduated from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1977. After completing an Internal Medicine residency at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco, he became a fellow in Hematology/Oncology at the Cancer Research Institute of the University of California, San Francisco in 1980. He was one the original clinician/investigators to recognize and define many early AIDS-related conditions at San Francisco General Hospital where he also served as chief of Hematology-Oncology for 14 years. He has long been interested in clinical trials of complementary and alternative medicine interventions for HIV/AIDS and cancer, including evaluations of medicinal cannabis. In 1997 he received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to conduct a clinical trial on the short-term safety of cannabinoids in HIV infection. Subsequently he was granted funds by the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to continue studies of the effectiveness of cannabis in a number of clinical conditions. He completed a placebo-controlled study of smoked cannabis in patients with painful HIV-related peripheral neuropathy as well as a study evaluating vaporization as a smokeless delivery system for medicinal cannabis. He conducted a NIDA-funded trial investigating the pharmacokinetic interaction between vaporized cannabis and opioid analgesics in patients with chronic pain. His last study was an NIH-funded trial evaluating vaporized cannabis in patients with sickle cell disease. He co-authored the chapter on “Cannabinoids and Cancer” in the Oxford University Press Integrative Oncology text that he co-edited with Andrew Weil. He co-edits the NCI PDQ CAM Cannabinoids and Cancer website. He was a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s committee that published The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research in January 2017.


Abrams DI. Medical marijuana: tribulations and trials. J Psychoactive Drugs. 1998;30(2):163-169. doi:10.1080/02791072.1998.10399686

Abrams DI, Hilton JF, Leiser RJ, et al. Short-term effects of cannabinoids in patients with HIV-1 infection: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(4):258-266. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-139-4-200308190-00008

Abrams DI, Vizoso HP, Shade SB, Jay C, Kelly ME, Benowitz NL. Vaporization as a smokeless cannabis delivery system: a pilot study. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2007;82(5):572-578. doi:10.1038/sj.clpt.6100200

Abrams DI, Jay CA, Shade SB, et al. Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Neurology. 2007;68(7):515-521. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000253187.66183.9c

Abrams DI, Couey P, Shade SB, Kelly ME, Benowitz NL. Cannabinoid-opioid interaction in chronic pain. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2011;90(6):844-851. doi:10.1038/clpt.2011.188

Abrams DI, Guzman M. Cannabis in cancer care. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2015;97(6):575-586. doi:10.1002/cpt.108

Abrams DI. The therapeutic effects of Cannabis and cannabinoids: An update from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report. Eur J Intern Med. 2018;49:7-11. doi:10.1016/j.ejim.2018.01.003

Abrams DI. Should Oncologists Recommend Cannabis?. Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2019;20(7):59. Published 2019 Jun 3. doi:10.1007/s11864-019-0659-9
Abrams DI, Couey P, Dixit N, et al. Effect of Inhaled Cannabis for Pain in Adults With Sickle Cell Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(7):e2010874. Published 2020 Jul 1. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.10874

Abrams DI, Guzmán M. Can Cannabis Cure Cancer?. JAMA Oncol. 2020;6(3):323-324. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.5983