According to the National Cancer Institute cannabis may aid in reducing symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatments. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring active chemicals found in Cannabis, which cause systemic effects within the human body. Cannabis and cannabinoids have been studied in both the laboratory and clinic, to help us understand how they can be effective for relief of pain, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and loss of appetite. Patients report using cannabis as a therapeutic and preventive herbal medicine to help ease multiple symptoms related to a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Reducing Nausea & Vomiting
It’s widely known and accepted throughout the cancer research and oncology medicine community that cannabis has the ability to reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Research on the issue can be found dating back to the 1970’s and continues to discover similar results today, it usually works. One patient reports, “I was so sick it felt like I was throwing up my toenails. I couldn’t even take my pills until I took a few puffs off my bowl.”
Unfortunately, cancer treatment and pain, typically go hand-in-hand. Cannabis has shown to have potent anti-inflammatory and pain reducing potential. Cannabinoids have shown to help reduce nerve pain, as well as pain related to chronic inflammation or injury. New research is currently being conducted and published regarding the use of cannabis as a possible solution to the issues surrounding traditional pain-medication side-effects and opioid-dependency. This current wave of interest is reigniting the conversation and confirmation that cannabis is a powerful medicine helping to reduce pain and the need for increased or prolonged use of prescription pain medication.
It’s common knowledge that “stoners get the munchies.” However, this same response is what gives cannabis great potential and medicinal value for cancer patients. In some cases, not only does cannabis help increase appetite and the desire to eat, but some patients also report cannabis helps food taste better. The National Cancer Institute recognizes, “Many animal studies have shown that delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids stimulate appetite and can increase food intake.”
Sleep inspires healing. The droopy-eyed “lazy stoner” persona might be getting a bad rap. Cannabis effects on relaxation, anxiety, and sleep are widely known, and studies related to how cannabinoids influence sleep issues such as insomnia have been reported. Patients who receive an adequate amount of quality sleep at night typically report experiencing reduced daytime pain.
Potential Anti-Tumor Activity
Research findings support the possible use of cannabinoid therapy for several types of specific cancers including those effecting the breast, lung, brain, liver, colon, and skin. Studies have shown that cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth and kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.
Cannabinoids effect cancer cells in 3 ways:
- Causing cell death
- Blocking cell growth
- Blocking the development of blood vessels needed for tumors to grow.
Medical and adult-use cannabis have become widely available in the U.S. over recent years. This ease in accessibility allows a large percentage of the population to safely and legally utilize cannabis as a multi-beneficial herb to help ease the painful process associated with battling cancer.