Medical marijuana is legal in many states and is available in many forms today. If you have a medical condition listed in the MMJ qualifying conditions’ list, you can get a New York medical card.
Marijuana’s active cannabinoids provide promising results for patients with various medical conditions such as pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. Some medical studies say THC can be helpful in managing cancer chemotherapy side-effects. Read on to learn about how cannabis helps cancer patients, top strains, and more.
Cancer Treatment & Its Side-Effects
Cancer is a disease associated with the growth of cells uncontrollably. Usually, cells grow and spread throughout the body. Over time, the cells grow old & damaged, and new cells take their place. When cancer develops, the damaged, old cells grow and multiply, thus forming tumors.
For cancer treatment, medical doctors usually do surgeries to remove cancer from the body. Chemotherapy can also be used for killing cancer cells by using drugs. However, this treatment also kills or slows the growth of healthy cells, thus causing side-effects, such as-
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- Change in appetite
Marijuana For Cancer Patients
Marijuana has medicinal properties; it can help in reducing pain, nausea, and inflammation. It contains more than 100 chemical compounds (called cannabinoids)—the most studied ones are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid that causes high feelings while CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
Medical studies have found that cannabis and its compounds can help in easing side effects caused by cancer chemotherapy.
Nausea & Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common among cancer patients after chemotherapy and other treatments. Cannabis can help in managing these issues. In fact, the FDA has approved Dronabinol (Marinol®), a gelatin capsule containing THC, for treating nausea and vomiting. This drug is also helpful in managing the lack of appetite in AIDS patients. Nabilone (Cesamet®) is also approved in the country for nausea and vomiting treatment.
Research says that smoking marijuana can help in reducing cancer-related pain. Cannabinoids in cannabis work by binding to the receptors in the brain and other areas of the body. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD has amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
Nabiximols (a mouth spray containing 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD) is effective in reducing pain in two placebo-controlled trials. It’s under study in the United States, but available in Canada and parts of Europe.
Loss of Appetite
Some chemotherapy drugs can lead to loss of appetite, thus causing weight loss. Research says that cannabis compounds can help in improving appetite and sense of taste. When you consume cannabis, THC is delivered into the bloodstream, thus stimulating appetite. Marijuana is effective in managing eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.
Nerve damage is another side-effect of cancer chemotherapy, which can be managed with cannabis. It’s usually associated with burning in the hands & feet, feelings of weakness, numbness, etc.
CBD indirectly interacts with the CB2 receptors in the ECS, thus reducing pain and inflammation THC helps in relieving pain caused by nerve damage by binding to the CB1 receptors.
Cancer patients getting chemotherapy treatment may experience anxiety. Symptoms include restlessness, excessive worrying, trouble concentrating, and irritability. Common medications prescribed by doctors for cancer-related anxiety are—Lorazepam, Diazepam, and Clonazepam.
Medical studies show that consuming cannabis through smoking or other methods can help in reducing anxiety and stress levels. However, dosing is important; higher doses of THC may increase anxiety.
Marijuana can be beneficial in killing cancer cells without affecting healthy ones, found researchers at the University of Newcastle. Dr. Matt Dun and his team tested high-THC and high-CBD cannabis strains against cancer. They reported that marijuana strains rich in CBD delivered better results in killing cancer cells from leukemia and pediatric brainstem glioma.
Some animal studies suggest that cannabinoids may slow the growth & spread of cancer cells in the body. However, more human studies are required to evaluate how exactly cannabis works.
How to Use Medical Marijuana?
The first step is to get a New York medical card. This helps you to legally possess and use cannabis for medical purposes. Additionally, you can save cannabis taxes on buying cannabis.
Visit NY Medical Card to apply for your marijuana evaluation online in just 10 minutes. Here’s the process-
- Sign up for an account online
- Talk to a licensed doctor via video call
- Get your MMJ recommendation letter in PDF
When using cannabis for medical purposes, the type of strains you use has a direct impact. High-THC strains cause you high effects along with easing your symptoms while high-CBD strains deliver sedative effects. Talk to your MMJ doctor & seek professional help regarding cannabis strains that can help you deal with your symptoms.
Moreover, the amount of cannabis you consume and how you deliver cannabinoids into the body affect the kind of medicinal effects you receive. If you haven’t used cannabis before, start with a low dose.
Smoking cannabis provides immediate medicinal effects. But, it’s associated with lung health issues due to the presence of carcinogens and toxins in the smoke. Edibles, tinctures, oils, and topicals are some alternative marijuana consumption methods to enjoy medicinal benefits of cannabis.
Covering it up, marijuana provides ultimate relief from nausea & vomiting, loss of appetite, pain, and anxiety caused by chemotherapy treatment. For managing your symptoms, use cannabis strains with appropriate cannabinoid levels, and choose the right dose and delivery methods. Get a doctor’s recommendation to access medical marijuana legally.