In 2020, it is estimated that 1.8 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. alone. There are many different types of cancer treatments including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and more. However, treatments like chemotherapy can have severe side effects. Chemo kills fast-growing cancer cells, but it also kills or slows down the growth of healthy cells that grow quickly. Damage to these healthy cells can result in uncomfortable side effects. A number of studies have shown that drugs based on marijuana compounds can help with some of these chemo side effects.
Marijuana and Cancer
Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, but in the U.S., the FDA has not approved cannabis for treatment for medical conditions including cancer. More research is being done every day on the benefits of cannabis in treating cancer and it’s treatment symptoms, and the results are very promising.
There are two commercially-available drugs that have been approved for medical use. Dronabinol and Nabilone are both approved to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy when other drugs have failed. Dronabinol has also been shown to help with food intake and prevent weight loss. Research is still being done with Nabilone, but it has shown promise in helping relieve cancer pain.
· Pain. Both cancer and its treatment can have painful side effects. Cancer often causes pain due to inflammation, and CBD can help reduce inflammation and reduce pain. CBD is a great option for patients who are looking for alternative pain relief to the standard and more addictive forms of pain medication.
· Nausea. Nausea and vomiting is a common side effect of chemotherapy. Anti-nausea effects come from THC rather than CBD, so low doses of THC help treat this. CBD has been shown to suppress nausea in low doses.
· Poor appetite due to cancer and treatments.
· Anxiety and depression. Many patients experience anxiety and depression with their diagnosis. CBD reduces anxiety and depression symptoms and is an accepted treatment for generalized anxiety disorder and depression.
· Insomnia. Many patients who take cannabis have reported improved sleep.
If you are considering medical marijuana to help ease symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments, talk with your doctor about how to best administer it. CBD and other cannabis products come in many forms including vape, tincture, oils, and edibles. Because CBD and THC are not regulated by the FDA, it is important to only consume CBD and THC products from a trusted vendor.
The content in these blogs is not meant to be taken as medical advice or used as a substitute for speaking with a doctor. Always consult with a doctor if you have any questions or concerns or to make sure taking cannabis is safe for you.