Can Marijuana Reduce Symptoms of Cancer or Even Treat It?
- Effects and Side Effects of THC and CBD
- What Are Cannabinoids?
- Does the Way You Consume Cannabis Products Matter?
- What Science Says on Cannabis and Its Effects on Cancer Symptoms
- How to Use Medical Marijuana
- Final Thoughts on Marijuana and Cancer
The treatment of cancer using cannabis has been one of the most controversial topics on and offline for a long while. In this article, we will break down the research that has been done so far.
This article is purely meant to discuss the symptoms of cancer and how cannabis comes into the picture. We will talk about therapies that make use of CBD for cancer as well. In conclusion, we will share our personal opinion on this topic.
Effects and Side Effects of THC and CBD
While this segment is no cannabis oil cancer research, it does contain information that may be practical and useful for a beginner or someone interested in knowing more about cannabis. We will define terms and outline in layman’s language the properties of marijuana.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabis as a plant contains several compounds called cannabinoids. The most studied are tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, popularly known as THC and CBD. Note that these are only two of the many compounds found in this plant. They interact with cannabinoid receptors similarly but produce different reactions.
CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that relieve pain, whether it is consumed orally applied topically on localized pain. It has been used to treat epilepsy and anxiety, among others. It does not affect the mind.
THC has psychoactive properties that can affect the human mind. This is to say THC will give you a high, make you calm, happy, and generally release good moods.
Effects of Cannabinoids
There are several factors that determine how someone reacts to marijuana. Biological make-up, gender, tolerance, weight, past experiences, and even what you ate before lighting up come out to play. This is to say that one person’s experience is not always the next.
You are only likely to have side effects in these three instances:
- You had a wrong strain
- The dose is higher than you can tolerate
- Your body doesn’t agree with the strain
Some of the common effects of CBD and THC are well-known and experienced by most users. We talk about them below.
Effects of THC
- Euphoria and happiness
- A relaxed mind
- Bursts of energy
- Pain relief
- Bouts of hunger
Possible Side Effects
- Short-term memory lapses
- Paranoia and anxiety or panic attacks
- Increased heart rate
- A dry mouth
- Drowsiness and dizziness
Effects of CBD
*Also used to effectively treat schizophrenia and psychotic disorders
Possible Side Effects
Does the Way You Consume Cannabis Products Matter?
Here are some of the ways you can use these products:
- Drugs made from cannabis – Dronabinol and Nabilone are some of the pharmaceutical drugs you can find at a pharmacy, but they are less potent and quite expensive.
- Smoking – you can burn the flower and smoke it to get an almost immediate high, but this could lead to coughs if you are not used to it.
- Vaping – The modern marijuana user likes this method since it hits the bloodstream faster than smoking. It is also discreet.
- Dabbing – This method allows you to inhale lots of cannabinoids for a more powerful hit, but you could also experience stronger side effects due to the amounts inhaled.
- Edibles – These take a while to hit the system - about 1.5 hours – but the effect lasts longer once this happens.
- Tinctures – If you cannot ingest it alone or inhale the smoke, then it helps to dissolve the oil in a liquid.
- Topicals – These are ideal for localized pain, and they can be applied the same way as lotions.
There is no one best way of using cannabis for cancer since people are different. It would help to experiment with the various options or ask a budtender at your preferred dispensary the best way to use a specific strain.
What Science Says on Cannabis and Its Effects on Cancer Symptoms
The big question: does cannabis kill cancer cells? Below we have some of the documented findings on this topic.
Cannabis Smoke and Cancer Symptoms
The most common side effects of chemotherapy are nausea and vomiting, and they have been seen to respond positively to hemp. Some studies show that smoked marijuana – either a joint or vaporized – responds positively to neuropathic pain. Smoke has also been seen to effectively improve one’s appetite, something that most cancer patients struggle with regularly.
Is Cannabis Oil Effective?
Cannabis oils are grossly understudied, so most experts have based their opinion on repeated purchases. If people are repeatedly buying the product and giving positive feedback, then it must work, right? There is still so much unknown about these oils.
Marijuana and Pain Relief
Pain is part of cancer, and so patients need to consume lots of painkillers to combat it. It has been noted that those who use marijuana have better pain relief without the pills than those who do. The effects of cannabis products are less severe than those of regular pills, and so patients that choose this option are better off.
If, say, you have skin cancer with localized pain, you could check at a dispensary whether they have topical cannabis oil for skin cancer to relieve pain in that particular part.
Do Cannabinoids Kill Cancer Cells?
You may have heard whispers about cannabinoids being used in cancer treatment and maybe not believed it to the letter. Well, science shows some cannabinoids to have the ability to kill cancer cells in labs. That said, there are no conclusive studies showing this can be replicated on humans because it would mean one using a reasonable dosage to get all the cannabinoids needed to kill cancer cells. Also, no clinical studies have been conducted. Another reason that prevents us from saying without doubt cannabinoids work on cancer is the fact that even animal tests only showed they slowed the growth of cells in certain forms of the disease, not killing them completely.
So, while it is clear this plant has lots of untapped potential, it would be incorrect to conclude it can cure or control cancer. Patients should keep going to the hospital, undergoing therapy as advised, and taking their pills even as they use marijuana for pain management.
Does Marijuana Help Cancer Patients?
Two words: more studies. So little is known of cannabis compounds that it is hard to tell whether combinations of some of them would have a more potent effect on cancer patients of not. Even the American Cancer Society agrees that there is more to be done, and that should be done at the federal level.
Here are answers to common questions asked frequently on this topic.
Can marijuana work for patients with cancer symptoms? Yes.
Does it work the same for all patients? Not really, since different people have different reactions. The only way to know whether or not it works is to try the products.
Does marijuana work on typical symptoms of cancer? Not cancer, but the chemo that patients have to undergo as part of cancer treatment. Marijuana products have been seen to work on nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite, all common symptoms of chemotherapy.
How to Use Medical Marijuana
If your doctor and significant others agree that medical marijuana is a good course to take, then this guide will help you get started. Note that this works only in states that have legalized its use.
- Get your doctor’s approval
Even before you talk to your doctor, do your research to know whether the discussion is worth having in the first place. If yes, ask them what they think so they can give you the cannabis card required at dispensaries in legal states.
- Find a dispensary
Read online reviews on dispensaries like you would a regular online store, then choose the best.
- Dosage and product
You will need a good budtender to help you identify the right strain for your condition. If you seek to know about cannabis and prostate cancer and what you should use, they should be able to advise through their knowledge of symptoms and strains. They should also advise you to take it easy if you are a beginner.
- Start using marijuana
If you notice symptoms that are a little too off, then let your doctor or budtender know. If a strain doesn’t work for you completely, then let it go altogether.
Final Thoughts on Marijuana and Cancer
Chemotherapy is the worst part of the disease as so much happens to the body during this form of treatment. Marijuana helps ease some of the symptoms of chemo, making it more manageable for cancer patients. For this reason, any question on cannabis pancreatic cancer or any other form of the disease is best discussed with a professional physician first.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for any prescribed medication. See your doctor first!