Medical Marijuana for Cancer Patients
Marijuana comes from the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa). Itis a mixture of dried and shredded leaves, stems, seeds and flowers. The main active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana and substances that are made from it are called cannabinoids.
You may wonder about using marijuana to control the symptoms of cancer or side effects of treatment, mainly nausea and vomiting or pain. The Cancer societies are hesitant to endorse medical marijuana siting a lack of clinical studies, however, with a little help from Google we were able to find plenty of evidence that marijuana helps a great deal with dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment but also has been shown to eliminate or reduce tumors in some cases.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines Exit Disclaimer recommends cannabinoids as breakthrough treatment for chemotherapy-related N/V.
Cancer patients can experience different levels of pain due to Inflammation, invasion of bone or other pain-sensitive structures, or nerve injury. Severe and persistent cancer pain is often resistant to treatment with opioids. Managing pain is important because it improves a patient’s quality of life.
Neuropathic pain is a symptom cancer patients may experience, especially if treated with platinum-based chemotherapy or taxanes. Inhaled cannabis in patients with HIV-related peripheral neuropathy found that pain was reduced by more than 30% in over 52% of patients, which was statistically significant.
* as always please be sure to consult with a health professional to assess the risks and rewards of adding medicinal cannabis to your treatment program.