10 Benefits of Marijuana for Cancer Patients
*This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek health advice with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Many cancer patients request doctors to prescribe them medical marijuana.
Although health practitioners differ on the opinion of using marijuana for cancer patients, there are many ways how marijuana help people suffering from cancer. Following are the 10 benefits of cannabis that make life easier for cancer patients.
Chronic pain is a serious problem which is associated with cancer and its treatment. It is the biggest reason why people seek marijuana for cancer patients.
A survey was conducted to know the opinion of 271 cancer patients in Canada. The results showed that 60% of respondents preferred medical cannabis over pharmaceutical drugs to manage symptoms.
About 30 respondents from the 63% said that they preferred marijuana to painkillers. Health practitioners very often prescribe painkillers to cancer patients to manage symptoms despite availability of cannabis as treatment option, and it is also a non-toxic and less-addictive alternative.
Vomiting and Nausea
The problem with radiation treatments and chemotherapy is that the patient feels exhausted. Therefore, the most common side effect of these cancer treatments is vomiting and nausea.
Different studies show that a variety of marijuana compounds possess antiemetic properties. They successfully reduce vomiting and nausea caused due to chemotherapy.
In fact, the success rate of these cannabis compounds is very high. Many pharmaceutical companies created the synthetic versions of marijuana for cancer patients who undergo treatment of chemotherapy. The drug is sold with the name of Marinol.
Irritation on Skin
Cancer patients develop skin rash which feels very itchy. Cancer patients who go through conventional treatments are more likely to have such problems. Fortunately, cannabinoids are the compounds in marijuana that have anti-inflammatory properties. It makes cannabis helpful for minor allergic reactions that cause inflammation.
Many cancer patients were interviewed for a research study. They were asked about marijuana for cancer patients, and many of them said that they found relief from itchy side effects. Majority of those patients used cannabis orally or inhaled it; however, marijuana can also be used in the form of salves and balms to apply on the itchy spot. A person does not get high if he uses topical cannabis.
Weight Management and Appetite
Chemotherapy drugs have many side effects including pain, nausea, vomiting and extreme appetite loss. A common fact about cannabis is that it stimulates hunger. A great benefit of marijuana for cancer patients is that it will increase their appetite. For many people suffering from cancer, it will be a relief.
In fact, there are two great benefits of marijuana for cancer patients with appetite loss problem. First, it taps into the system of cell receptors which stimulates the release of gherlin. It is the primary hunger hormone. Secondly, cannabis boosts the response of pleasure of food in the human brain. As a result, a cancer patient will not only feel hungrier but also enjoy more eating his food.
Well-being and Mental Health
It is a fact that people who are going through the bad times of illness can also face problems related with their mental health. Cannabis is known to have mood stimulating and euphoric properties.
Majority of patients with mental health ailments are very fond of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which makes people upbeat high and happy. However, CBD which is a non-psychotropic cannabidiol also promotes a sense of well-being and improve mood.
Scientists have observed that in the case of rodents, CBD rapidly increases the serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter molecule, and antidepressant drugs usually target it. Most antidepressant drugs take many weeks to show their effect. The preclinical research shows that CBD begins showing signs of improvement just after a single dosage.
Serotonin levels also get boosted by low doses of THC, and it creates an antidepressant effect.
Drowsiness is a well-known side effect of marijuana for cancer patients and everyone. Some cultivars of cannabis cause more drowsiness than others. Sedation and sleepiness is a special effect of strains known as Kush or indicas.
The findings of research on THC also show that marijuana compounds have the tendency to make people fall sleep and even sleep for more time. It is also believed that cannabis makes people have deep sleep for extended time, and deep sleep is actually the restorative phase of one’s sleep cycle.
Cancer treatments also cause side effects like diarrhea and constipation. The cause of constipation is usually the imbalance in the bacterial communities that are present in intestinal tract. Different researches show that marijuana for cancer patients can change the ratio of bacteria in that area which promotes a balanced ecosystem inside human body.
Cancer medications also cause side effect of feeling plugged. Opiate pain medicines are known for doing it. A reason why marijuana for cancer patients is a preference over painkillers is because it allows them to reduce the dosages of medications and ease side effects.
Inflammation in the intestinal tract is the main cause of diarrhea. It is another side effect of cancer treatments. The latest research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that marijuana reduces the inflammation in intestinal tract which causes problems like diarrhea.
There are different types of marijuana. Some of them make people feel sleepy while others have energetic and stimulating qualities. Different cannabis cultivars are unique in their own way. The ones that are classified as “sativas” are believed to cause stimulating effects. Some people compare it with the morning cup of coffee. Such type of marijuana for cancer patients is a source of mental energy which is helpful to start the day.
If someone is suffering from cancer, it does not mean they cannot experience the joys of sex life. It is true that maintaining libido is very difficult if a person is suffering from a chronic disease like cancer. Cancer can create problems like fatigue and severe pain as a side effect of medications.
Many people do not think about having sex and pleasing their partner when they are sick. Sometimes missing sex makes one feel heartbroken.
Marijuana for cancer patients is a relief because it can improve their sexual health in many ways. For centuries, cannabis is being used as an aphrodisiac. The latest research shows that many consumers of marijuana experience improved sexual health.
The advantages of marijuana for cancer patients with respect to sexual health are meaningful yet subjective. Several cancer patients say that cannabis has had helped them to enjoy the life and temporarily get way with anxiety and worries. The herb relaxes muscles and eases pain too. Both are necessary for a person to enjoy the pleasures of sexual life.
There are several benefits of marijuana for cancer patients, and one of them is its anti-cancer properties. In fact, it is the most remarkable property of cannabis.
Many research institutions and biopharmaceutical companies are taking keen interest in this area of research. They are studying cannabis compounds to kill tumor and cancer cells.
So far CBD and THC could trigger cancer cells death in lab and animal models. They were also able to prevent spread of cancer cells and halt proliferation. Another effect was blocking of vessel formation in tumor cells which stopped the growth.
GW Pharmaceuticals conducted a concept study in 2017 where 21 patients suffering from aggressive and severe form of brain cancer were treated with medicine made with cannabis. It was noted that 83% patients had more chance of surviving for one year after the treatment. Others that were treated with placebo had just 53% chance of survival for one year.
Patients that were treated with marijuana-based medicines had a survival rate of more than 500 days. The placebo group had a survival rate for only 369 days.
At the moment, the research is in its preliminary stages. Many cancer patients choose to use medical cannabis oil in order to take advantage of the anti-cancer properties of marijuana. Right now, there is no tangible evidence to prove that it is a good idea to use marijuana for cancer patients.