Cancer is the call word for a number of diseases related to the uncontrolled division of cells in the body that lead to abnormal growths, tumors, or cells in the blood. Unlike new cells that are needed by the body, cancer cells do not listen to the body’s signals to stop reproducing or die, so they continue to grow and divide, with other normal cells being used to feed the cancer.
Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies, and surgery are the major treatments for cancer, although specific cancers may have other or additional treatments available. These treatments have major side effects as they work to find ways to rid the body of the out of control cells. Some of these side effects may include anemia, lack of appetite, changes in bowl movements, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, nerve changes, pain, and more.
Cannabis studies have shown a variety of benefits when it comes to helping cancer patients. The National Cancer Institute, part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the United States, details a number of ways cannabis may combat tumor growth and alleviate the negative side effects of cancer treatment.
Recent studies show a positive effect in rats and mice in reducing the growth of tumors when given doses of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabidiol (CBD) has also been studies and has positive effects as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory without the psychoactive component of THC.
HHS details a number of studies suggesting potential benefits of Cannabis in the treatment of cancer. One of the major negative side effects of cancer treatment from chemotherapy or radiation is nausea and vomiting. The antiemetic effects of cannabis use allows cancer patients a better ability to address their nausea and vomiting, providing a better quality of life while going through treatment. In addition, cannabis can increase the appetite, helping cancer patients consume the calories they need to stay healthy.
Other positive effects of using cannabis for the treatment of cancer include its analgesia effects, helping reduce the inflammation that comes with cancer treatment and the resulting pain. Finally, HHS relates that studies show a positive effect of cannabis on anxiety and sleep issues that are part of the fight against cancer. Patients using cannabis may have better sleep, less anxiety, and an improved sense of well-being.
Cancer is one of the scariest diseases we face today. Treatments for cancer can be highly effective, but they can also have negative side effects that make each day a struggle. Cannabis studies have shown positive uses of cannabis in the treatment of cancer and the negative side effects of cancer treatment. Each individual is different, so patients should work with their health care professionals to development a treatment plan that works for them, helping create a cannabis regiment that produces a better quality of life and treatment outcome.
For more information visit the American Cancer Society.