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Cancer, in any form, is one of the most devastating diseases. Cancer patients in pain, feeling sick, or having lost their appetite may always look for a better and safer way to treat their symptoms. Marijuana cures cancer. People with cancer quickly turn to cannabis to ease the disease’s symptoms and the treatment’s side effects. Medical Marijuana helps reduce cancer-related symptoms and enhance the quality of life. Before using medical Marijuana, it’s better to understand what it is, what science says about it, and if it can help with different cancer symptoms.
Marijuana is made from the flowers and dried leaves of the cannabis Sativa plant. Cannabinoids are parts of Marijuana that can make the body feel like it’s on drugs. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two that are the most active and have been studied the most.
THC causes the “high” feeling from Marijuana and may also help with pain, sickness, and swelling.
CBD may help with pain, swelling, and anxiety without making you feel high. Medical Marijuana is permitted in more states, but its efficacy is still debated.
Marijuana, also called cannabis, ganja, or grass, has molecules called cannabinoids that make it work. These include, among others, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is not psychotropic or mind-altering, unlike THC, which provides a “high” experience. The amount of cannabinoids in Marijuana varies by strain or type. Depending on the ratio of individual cannabinoids present, different strains produce distinct effects.
Studies have shown that the marijuana plant may help with chemotherapy-related nausea, vomiting, and nerve damage-related pain. The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that, on average, people with cancer who use marijuana use less pain medicine. Animal studies show that some cannabis extracts may kill specific cancer cells. Other cell studies show that it may slow the growth of cancer, and with mice, the psychoactive part of Marijuana, THC, made the effect of radiation on cancer cells even stronger.
Medical Marijuana may help with cancer symptoms and treatment in the following ways:
A few small studies have shown that smoking marijuana can help with chemotherapy side effects like nausea and vomiting. The FDA approves using synthetic cannabinoids like dronabinol (Marinol) and nabilone (Cesamet) to treat nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients when other nausea medicines don’t work.
Some research has shown promise that smoking marijuana can help ease cancer pain. It sticks to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and other body parts. The cannabinoid nabiximol, in nabiximol oral spray, is not yet approved by the FDA. Still, some research has shown promise that they might help treat cancer pain, muscle spasms, and multiple sclerosis (M.S.).
Marijuana may also help reduce inflammation, which can also help with pain.
Neuropathy is damage to the nerves that causes weakness, numbness, or pain. This can happen after chemo or other treatments for cancer, and many studies have shown that smoking marijuana can effectively treat nerve pain.
The FDA approves Dronabinol to help people with AIDS who aren’t hungry, but not for cancer. Some studies suggest that Marijuana may also help people with cancer eat more.
Components of cannabis can decrease tumor growth and aid in cancer therapy. Marijuana lowers inflammation and has antioxidant properties. The THC in Marijuana may help cancer patients manage their pain and nausea. Some forms of Marijuana work better than others to fight cancer symptoms or treatment side effects. It can be eaten, smoked, inhaled, or vaped. Depending on how it is used, it has different effects.
When THC is taken in oils, foods, or drinks, the liver takes longer to absorb and process it. It is hard to know how much THC is in marijuana-infused foods and how much THC would cause symptoms of an overdose.
When Marijuana is inhaled or vaporized, the THC quickly enters the bloodstream and goes to the brain. Its effects are more rapid than when taken orally, but they also wear off more rapidly.
Long-term Use of THC may result in mental problems such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. Additionally, respiratory issues such as chronic bronchitis could develop as a side effect of THC.
As with any medication, Marijuana may exacerbate the adverse effects of other drugs. Talking to your doctor about medications and supplements and asking about possible side effects and interactions is essential.
Even though some states have made medical marijuana legal, federal law still considers it a Schedule I drug. This means it is highly likely abused and not approved for medicinal use. Because of this, hospitals and approved pharmacies cannot use or sell medical Marijuana. Insurance companies don’t pay for medical Marijuana, but most will pay for the use of dronabinol, a THC drug.
There isn’t much medical evidence to back up the use of medical Marijuana other than the experiences of people who have tried it. Few controlled studies have explored the advantages and disadvantages of marijuana use. With so little evidence available, it is impossible to make a medical determination on medical Marijuana at this time.
Each state regulates the possession and use of medical Marijuana differently. In many states, to get medical Marijuana from a dispensary, you need a medical marijuana card.
Ultimately, medical decision-making is a collaborative effort between patients and their clinicians. If a doctor decides that there is a medical reason to use the product, the way to get it depends on the laws of that state. The patient and the doctor are responsible for determining what state and federal rules apply and following them.