A Guide to Cannabis and Cancer
As it exists now, cancer still has no cure. Instead, forms of coping with the disease can be offered to lessen the pain. Many of these treatments involve using pharmaceuticals that can also come with detrimental side effects.
Cannabis is one of the few coping treatments that offer little to no side effects. So, if you or someone you know is diagnosed with cancer, then allow this guide to inform you of the relationship Cannabis has with cancer as alternative medicine.
Luckily, here in Florida, Cancer is one of the qualifying conditions that may qualify one for a Medical Marijuana Card. And, as luck would have it, you happen to be on the website of the best Cannabis Doctor you can find in Florida. Book an evaluation with us here, and see what makes us the best in Florida.
How is Cannabis used in a pharmaceutical setting against cancer?
Due to Cannabis' classification as a Schedule 1 Drug, research & testing in an academic atmosphere is severely limited. That said, the research we do have shows that Cannabis is effective in the treatment of cancer's debilitating side effects.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information states,
"Taken as a whole, clinical studies on cannabinoids and cancer pain have reached conclusions similar to those of comparable studies on nausea and malnutrition: marijuana-based treatments, while somewhat effective, underperform conventional medications and cause numerous side effects." As stated, Cannabis does provide effective treatment granted; not as strong as opiates can offer, the side effects are dramatically lesser than opiates.
The same article starts by saying, "Considerable clinical evidence indicates that marijuana could yield a variety of useful medicines, especially for nausea, vomiting, and appetite stimulation. THC, in the form of Marinol (dronabinol), has already been used for more than a decade to treat these symptoms in cancer patients and for several years in AIDS patients as well."
Let's talk about Cannabis' use in a pharmaceutical setting; apart from Marinol, Cesamet is another THC-derived pharmaceutical that has been FDA approved and is in circulation as a treatment of chemotherapy side effects.
Not to mention that Nabiximols, another THC/CBD-derived pharmaceutical, is also currently being screened for FDA approval in the US.
What are the pros?
We know that Cannabis is used to treat the side effects of chemotherapy and of cancer itself. but what exactly does it treat?
Doctors use Cannabis to treat: nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite, pain, and anxiety. Some of these symptoms stem from cancer itself, while other symptoms are caused by cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and opiates that are prescribed.
According to the National Cancer Institute, of the treatable symptoms mentioned above, research has shown that Cannabis is an effective alternative to opiates.
However, like any other treatment, Cannabis does not come without its drawbacks, which will be discussed in the next section.
Cannabis, as opposed to opiates, has an added advantage: one dose helps with many or all of the listed side effects. For example, where one opiate may help with pain, another opiate may be needed for nausea, or the first opiate might even cause nausea. Cannabis deals with most symptoms in one dose without causing as many side effects depending on whether the patient is using CBD or THC.
What are the cons?
As previously mentioned, Cannabis does have its potential cons. While arguably lesser than the cons of opiate usage. For the sake of fairness, they should be mentioned.
An obvious flaw is that when inhaled, Cannabis may cause problems for those who already have problems with their lungs. Further, constant inhalation may eventually lead to problems in the future, such as COPD. To avoid this, topicals and edibles are available and ready.
Other side effects of Cannabis use are, as stated by the American Cancer Society, "Marijuana can also pose some harms to users. While the most common effect of marijuana is a feeling of euphoria ("high"), it also can lower the user’s control over movement, cause disorientation, and sometimes cause unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety and paranoia." Many of these side effects are caused by THC and can be avoided by using CBD instead.
In conclusion, though minor, the side effects of Cannabis do exist. It should be noted, however, that these side effects differ from person to person. The research shows that Cannabis is an effective treatment of cancer's side effects, and its side effects (though they are minor and arguably less impactful than those of opiates) are a part of the usage of Cannabis.
However, CBD does mitigate many of these side effects while keeping many of the medical properties of Cannabis. Every patient should consider what is comfortable for them, and should not let these side effects discourage them from the comfort that Cannabis can bring when dealing with cancer.
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