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Medical Marijuana and Cancer: Can it Help Treat Symptoms and Side Effects?

Mar 8

Cancer is a severe diagnosis that affects many lives each year. Traditional medical treatments can bring many undesirable outcomes and side effects from chemo and radiation, leaving patients feeling tired, nauseous, and in pain. But there might be an unlikely source of relief for people living with cancer – medical marijuana. Studies have shown it can improve sleep quality, restore appetite, reduce nausea, ease chronic pain, and promote relaxation during otherwise stressful treatment processes. Let’s take a closer look at how medical marijuana in Missouri may help with the symptoms and side effects associated with cancer treatment.

What is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is an effective treatment for many medical conditions and symptoms prescribed by a doctor to provide relief. It contains higher levels of CBD than THC, making it different from recreational cannabis as it doesn’t get users ‘high’. Despite this, its medicinal properties are incredibly powerful in managing pain, inflammation, and other bodily ailments. Currently adopted in 33 states across the United States and used across the globe to treat various conditions, medical marijuana is an option that more and more people are turning to so they can feel better without the side effects of traditional prescriptions.

How Does Medical Marijuana Work?

Medical marijuana is widely sought after for its multitude of beneficial purposes. But how exactly does it work? The answer lies in the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a vital role in regulating essential functions like appetite, sleep, mood, and immune response. The cannabinoids present in medical marijuana interact with the ECS receptors, providing relief from ailments ranging from chronic pain and inflammation to nausea, anxiety, and depression – just to name a few. Patients seeking treatment for their conditions can be sure that medical marijuana works by targeting their endocannabinoid system – ultimately leading to a marked improvement in their overall well-being.

Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat Cancer Symptoms?

There are several ways that medical marijuana may be able to help treat symptoms associated with cancer:

  • Pain Relief

Pain is something that affects us all and can be debilitating. But thankfully, for those suffering from pain, there is a natural remedy increasingly being used around the world: medical marijuana. Studies suggest this safe, ancient substance can be powerfully effective for pain relief in cancer patients. THC and CBD have been scientifically proven to reduce pain levels, marking marijuana as one of the most promising solutions to this age-old affliction.

  • Nausea and Vomiting

Cancer patients should never feel alone in their battle against nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Thankfully, medical marijuana has been proven to be a viable option for reducing CINV when used alongside traditional anti-nausea medications. It can benefit patients experiencing these problematic side effects from chemotherapy; relief could be just around the corner. Cannabis is a potent natural remedy that could provide much-needed relief to cancer patients everywhere.

  • Appetite Stimulation

Struggling to stay nourished can be difficult for many cancer patients, as a lack of appetite is a common side effect of the illness or treatments. But cannabinoids like THC have been known to help with appetite stimulation. Also referred to as “the munchies,” THC could relieve anorexia, allowing patients to enjoy meals again. It offers an increasingly popular option among those seeking help in their fight against cancer-induced weight loss.

  • Anxiety and Depression

Cancer patients are faced with physical symptoms, and mental health issues can also arise as part of their diagnosis. Anxiety and depression can become overwhelming, making it hard for them to cope. Fortunately, research has uncovered the potential benefits of medical marijuana in managing these symptoms; cannabis has been shown to reduce stress levels and boost energy and mood. With access to this form of treatment, cancer patients may be able to find some relief from anxiety and depression while they focus on recovery.

Are There Any Risks Associated with Using Medical Marijuana?

Like any medication or treatment option, there are potential risks associated with using medical marijuana:

  • Psychoactive Effects

Psychoactive effects are a potential side-effect of consuming medical marijuana, just like recreational marijuana. Symptoms such as feelings of euphoria or reduced cognitive abilities can occur, though typically at lower levels than with recreational strains. It means that medical users must be aware of the possibility and use it responsibly to ensure the best results for their condition without risking any adverse effects.

  • Drug Interactions

Drug interactions can be a serious concern when starting any type of medication. With medical marijuana, it's crucial to understand how it can affect other medicines you are taking. Speak with your doctor before starting cannabis treatment, as it could interfere with existing treatments for cancer or other health problems you may have. Knowing the risks and potential benefits is critical to ensuring it's medically appropriate and safe. Taking the proper steps to ensure all drugs interact safely with one another will result in a smoother transition from diagnosis to decision-making.

  • Lung Irritation

Smoking and vaping have been popular ways to consume medical marijuana for years, but one risk to be aware of is lung irritation. In this case, it can be similar to what you'd experience when exposed to cigarette smoke. Since inhaling any kind of smoke can cause inflammation in your lungs, you must take precautions with marijuana products if they are going to be smoked or vaped.

How Do You Get Medical Marijuana?

Obtaining medical marijuana can be a complicated process. Depending on where you live, it may be available from licensed dispensaries or providers, but it's not yet legal in some jurisdictions. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where doctors are authorized to prescribe medicinal weed, they will evaluate your needs and determine the dosage that would work best for you. However, remember that obtaining medical marijuana involves jumping regulatory hurdles, so it may take some time to get started.

Final Thoughts

Uncovering the power of medical cannabis may take some time and experimentation, but it provides hope for those suffering from symptoms related to their cancer diagnosis or treatment plan. If you decide to try it, be sure to check with your doctor first to find out how best to create a safe and effective dosing regimen. Cannabis can offer much-needed relief, and its potential should always be taken seriously. With further evidence-based research on the long-term effects of medical cannabis use, hopefully, all can recognise the healing power of this natural remedy.