People have been using marijuana in folk medicines for hundreds of years, but the truth is that prescribing marijuana for cancer patients has been a controversial topic since California passed the first medical marijuana laws in 1996. In this post we’ll cover the latest on marijuana treatments for cancer patients because we believe that it helps to understand the current political and social realities surrounding this form of treatment to inform the decision-making process.
We’ll also share the newest findings on how cannabis use may be able to positively impact patients being treated for cancer. Of course, you should always consult a physician before making any decisions about cannabis for your cancer treatments.
Cannabis and the Law
In the United States, cannabis is still considered a controlled substance by the federal government, though there are 29 states that have legalized it for medicinal use. These states are mostly in the Northeast and on the West Coast. Just because a state has legalized cannabis for cancer doesn’t mean anyone can take advantage of the service.
For instance, in Massachusetts, a state where cannabis for cancer was legalized in 2012, it’s still difficult for many patients to obtain a prescription. In fact, only 1% of doctors in the state of the 25,000 doctors in the Bay State are registered with state authorities for the right to prescribe medicinal cannabis.
State legislatures and medical professionals are not the only groups showing hesitance around the prospect of treating cancer with cannabis. The American Cancer Society has yet to take a stand on the use of cannabis for cancer. Though there has been no scientific findings that indicate that cannabis contains any carcinogenic elements, the society sites the need for more medical research to be done before a definitive position can be taken.
The fact that the legal and medical systems have been slow to recognize cannabis for its potential in cancer treatments does not negate the positive effects of the drug. Cannabis has had a positive impact on the lives of millions of people, many of whom suffer from cancer.
In 2016 alone, there were 1.2 million legal medical marijuana patients in the 26 states and Washington, D.C. Many of these patients are a testament to the positive effects marijuana can have on patients suffering from the punishing side effects of chemotherapy and the pain that the disease of cancer can inflict on the human body. For many of these patients, the benefits and relief from pain is real, and it manifests itself in many different ways.
For those undergoing rigorous chemotherapy treatments for cancer, cannabis can be a great way to relieve the side-effects of nausea associated with treatment. Studies also show that marijuana can help relieve vomiting that often accompanies this type of treatment.
To sum it up in a simplistic way, the reason marijuana is so successful in treating nausea is because the digestive tract contains cannabinoid receptors. When THC is consumed, these receptors light up, relieving nausea and allow the appetite to return. This has allowed patients who couldn’t eat following chemotherapy due to nausea and lack of appetite to have whole meals again.
It’s well documented that certain strains of cannabis can relieve people of depression. While many will focus on the physical pain relief that cannabis consumption can bring about, there is a definite potential to improve a patient’s mental well-being as well.
A dramatic intervention like cancer treatment can send many people into an emotional tailspin, and one of the positive side effects of using cannabis for cancer is that it can help improve the experience with some of the more difficult symptoms.
Reduces Pain & Inflammation
Patients often use cannabis for cancer to handle general muscle and joint pains and inflammation. Studies show that medical marijuana can reduce inflammation and lessen the pain that is caused by this inflammation.
Whether it’s atherosclerosis, an inflammatory disease of the blood vessels that can cause heart attacks or a stroke, or an inflammation of the air passages, cannabis may be able to reduce the pain and get patients back to feeling like themselves again.
Some forms of cancer can cause damage to the nerves, otherwise known as neuropathic pain. Those suffering from pain inflicted by nerve damage have also found relief using cannabis.
Some patients in studies dealing with marijuana for cancer patients also showed a desire to use less stronger forms of pain medication. If powerful pain medication is a cause for concern, opting instead for cannabis for cancer treatments may be a natural alternative.
A number of studies on marijuana for cancer patients have shown there are side effects to using cannabis for cancer, though many of these side effects are not considered severe.
For those at risk, marijuana can worsen the effects of depression, mania, or mental illness. It decreased blood pressure, increases the heart rate and can contribute to a general feeling of dizziness and disorientation. As has been noted, marijuana for cancer patients is not a solution for everyone. Patients should consult a doctor for an expert consultation before consuming cannabis.
TOPS Cannabis Delivery Service
TOPS Cannabis has developed a reputation as a premium delivery service for cannabis products in the Southern California area, and we’re proud to provide a much-needed service for those undergoing cancer treatments. If you’re a resident of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, or Orange County, TOPS can deliver directly to your door. Find out if our marijuana delivery service is available in your neighborhood, and contact us today for quality cannabis products.