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Medical Marijuana for Cancer

Using marijuana as a medicinal drug has been legal in Canada since 2001, but public knowledge about the benefits of marijuana for cancer patients is still limited. Thankfully, both mainstream acceptance of marijuana and the amount of scientific data on marijuana and cancer have gradually amplified in recent decades.

So, can marijuana treat cancer symptoms and chemotherapy side effects? More definitive research on the topic is needed, but the scientific consensus increasingly points to positive signs. For instance, the two most studied active components of marijuana, CBD and THC, are also the two most common, and research suggests that these cannabinoids, along with others, offer a variety of benefits for individuals fighting cancer.

It goes without saying that you should always consult with your doctor about the best cancer-treatment options for you, but learning about the multiple benefits of medicinal marijuana for cancer can expand your treatment options and help reduce pain and suffering.

10 Ways Marijuana Treats Cancer Symptoms and Side-Effects

1. Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are two of the most prevalent side effects of chemotherapy. Fortunately, research has found strong correlations between THC consumption and reductions in both nausea and vomiting. Consider trying indica flowers or indica concentrates, since indica strains of marijuana tend to have high concentrations of THC.

2. Weight Loss and Appetite

Rapid and detrimental weight loss is another common side effect of chemotherapy treatment. Thankfully, marijuana is a well-known appetite inducer, indirectly helping to counteract such weight loss. Although the scientific explanation for this effect has never been confirmed, early research suggests THC temporarily stimulates our ability to smell and taste food more acutely than normal.

3. Anxiety and Depression

Unsurprisingly, chemotherapy patients and those diagnosed with cancer suffer from disproportionately high rates of anxiety and depression. Fortunately, clinical trials have demonstrated that the CBD cannabinoid reduces anxiety levels and that the synthetic cannabinoid HU-210 replicates the effects of antidepressant medicines.

4. Pain

Bodily pain is a wide-ranging cancer symptom. However, marijuana is also commonly regarded as a pain suppressant. For example, clinical trials have shown the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone to function as an effective pain medicine.

5. Sleep and Fatigue

Cancer patients regularly report difficulty sleeping at night as well as suffering from fatigue during daytime hours. Marijuana might help with these problems since THC acts as a sedative and, conversely, CBD has properties that can help keep you alert. Based on such research, consider indica to help induce sleep and sativa to combat daytime fatigue.

6. Sex Drive

Low sex drives are commonly associated with cancer and chemotherapy.  Thankfully, marijuana has long been known as an aphrodisiac. Recent medical research suggests that THC replicates the effects of the naturally occurring neuro-chemical called anandamide, itself a sexual aphrodisiac.

7. Constipation

Many chemotherapy drugs can result in constipation, and although marijuana tends to reduce bowel movements when suffering from inflammatory bowel disorders, medical research has identified that marijuana has the opposite effect when it comes to general constipation.

8. Itching

Cancer and different cancer treatments often lead to bodily itching. Despite the fact that the underlying causal relationship between cancer, chemotherapy and itching are not fully conclusive, studies show that marijuana helps to relieve itching, likely due to the relaxing effects of THC.

9. Lung Health and Smoking

Tobacco smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, and detrimental lung health in general correlates with the development of different kinds of cancer. Interestingly, studies indicate that marijuana users develop an increased lung capacity over long periods of time.

10. Cancer Treatment

Does marijuana cure cancer itself? Obviously there is scant research to indicate that marijuana functions as an actual cure for cancer. However, some preclinical trials hypothesize that marijuana could kill some kinds of cancer cells. One study in particular found that the cannabinoid cannabidiol shuts down a gene called Id-1, which is copied by cancerous cells more often than by non-cancerous cells—suggesting that marijuana could at least slow down the spread of certain cancers.

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