Medical Marijuana – What You need To Know
According to figures reported by the Canadian Cancer Society. ‘’Cancer is the number one cause of death in Canada. In 2017 alone, it’s estimated that more than 200,000 people have been diagnosed with cancer’’
There is mounting evidence that medical marijuana may have a role to play in treating symptoms of cancer. While cannabis can't ‘cure' cancer as such, it can alleviate many of the associated symptoms and significantly improve the quality of life for cancer patients.
Marijuana comes from the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. It has been used for centuries as part of herbal medicine for many illnesses.
In the U.S, cannabis is illegal under federal law, but the use of medical marijuana is legal in many states of the U.S. Some studies have shown that marijuana might help ease some of the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment.
What is Medical Marijuana?
Marijuana plant contains about 113 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that causes a drug-like effect on the body. The two most active and studied of these compounds are delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC causes marijuana's "high" feeling. It also may help ease pain, nausea, and inflammation.CBD may ease pain, inflammation, and anxiety without causing the high.
How it Can Help Cancer
Researchers have looked at the possible benefits medical marijuana can have on cancer symptoms and treatment side effects. Some of which include
- Nausea and vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are one of the many side effects of chemotherapy. Nausea and vomiting render medication ineffective because cancer patients with nausea tend to vomit up the pills before the medicine can take effect.However, studies have shown that smoking marijuana can ease this side effect considerably
- Pain Alleviation:One of the most common symptoms associated with cancer is acute/chronic pain which may be caused by the tumour exerting pressure on parts of the body. In some cases, cancer pain is also a result of the by-product of some of the chemotherapy drugs. Medical cannabis can provide relief for patients. A recent review published in Annals of Palliative Medicine found that both THC and CBD offered effective pain relief during cancer therapy. Other studies have shown that medical cannabis can be just as effective as powerful opioids at relieving pain without exposing users to the same risks and addiction potential, making it a far safer choice for many patients.
- Stimulate Appetite: Loss of appetite amongst cancer patients is very common and can be caused due to cancer itself, metabolic changes or radiation and other anti-cancer therapy. Medical cannabis may help stimulate appetite in this regard. Medical cannabis particularly products that are rich in THC can promote appetite due to the endocannabinoid system interacts with and regulates feeding behaviour.
- Treat Sleep Issues: A few strains of cannabis have been discovered to work well for treating sleep-related issues in cancer patients.
Medical marijuana comes in different forms, including:
- Dried leaves or buds for smoking
- Edible products, like cookies, brownies, or candies
- Oils for vaporizing or mixing into hot drinks or food
- Creams that can be applied on the skin
- Sprays for your mouth