Marijuana is a common name referring to the dry leaves of the cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis cultivation takes place in warm tropical climates on a commercial scale.
The use of cannabis is widespread in many cultures across the world, and as a result, marijuana is now part of the 50 herbs that form part of the cornucopia of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Cannabis has a reputation for citations in the treatment of more than 100 ailments. The widespread legalization of weed in most countries, people are asking if budget buds can help in the cure of cancer.
Before we get into the details of how cannabis helps the body fight cancer, we need to understand the term medical marijuana.
Within cannabis, there are some compounds known as the cannabinoids that affect the human body the same way medical drugs do. The active compounds are the cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The one responsible for the feeling of being high is the THC, and it helps pain management, inflammations, and nausea. CBD may reduce pain, depression, anxiety, and inflammations.
Marijuana and Cancer
Scientists have noted many biological effects of the two of the most active components in marijuana. Different strains or cultivars in the research field have varying levels of the active compounds, consequently meaning that marijuana has different levels of effects on a human body.
The effect depends on how it enters the body:
- Taking budget buds by mouth means that the THC will have a long-term positive effect on altering mood and raises the level of consciousness. ( read here about health benefits of marijuana seeds.)
- Smoking Marijuana or through inhalation takes the THC straight into the bloodstream and into the brain. The secondary compound will come out in small amounts and thus has minimal effect.
How Marijuana Interacts with Symptoms of Cancer
Research studies have come up with different ideas on how cannabis helps treat the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. Smoking or taking marijuana in vaporized form reduces neuropathic pain due to damaged nerves. Taking marijuana in clinical trials boosts the person’s tolerance for pain and reduces the need to have strong medicine. The compound responsible for pain reduction in cannabidiol is known as Nabiximols.
The use of marijuana helps in the resumption of appetite in some cancer and HIV patients. Drugs, in general, reduce an individual’s appetite through increased levels of nausea and a lot of vomiting. Cannabidiol contains dronabinol that reduces an individual’s nausea which is essential especially after chemotherapy. Besides, it is also essential in preventing weight loss ensuring you retain your healthy body shape and appearance.
CBD has the backing of medical experts in slowing down the growth or even leading to the death of certain types of cancer cells. The results of early clinical trials of cannabinoids in the treatment of cancer and have proven that they are safe in the treatment of cancer.
Cannabis and Cancer Tumors
Treating brain tumor (astrocytoma),cells that had cannabinoids show that THC was reducing the number of cells. Conducting the same test on humans in the treatment of breast cancer using THC, and the CBD is on the same dose, the growth of cancer tumors reduces.
CBD has no side effects, doctors use it as an excellent anti-cancer agent because of its ability to stop the communication between cancer cells, and it can initiate cancer cell death. Further research studies indicate that CBD may influence genes involved rapid metastasis by shutting down cell growth receptors.
More studies into THC show that the effect on the increase of metastasis in cell lung cancer. The presence of THC plays a significant role in the movement of cancer cells. Using a combination of CBD and THC on instances of cancer such as pancreatic, colon, prostate, liver, and lung cancer, they form potent antioxidants that help in chemotherapy.
What does the Law say?
The American cancer society works together on the research of cannabinoids in cancer patients. On a different note, the Ontario cannabis laws are currently looking for effective ways of enabling the scientific study of marijuana. There are high hopes that medicinal cannabis will help in fighting cancer.
Use Marijuana for Cancer in the Right Manner
Being on a cannabinoid therapy could be a new thing. Therefore, researchers should facilitate more studies. Use the natural cannabis products even if it is for medical reasons, the synthetics we see in the market today will not work as efficiently as the original cannabis. Besides, some of these compounds have side effects that may include:
- Low blood pressure
- Increased levels of an individual’s heart rates
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
Other side effects include:
- Mood changes or being high
- Increased depression levels
- Negative effects on your mental health
- Instances of people experiencing hallucinations after using the cannabis medical treatments has also occurred.
Decision to use Medical Marijuana
Time tells what the effects of cancer are on you as an individual. Deciding what to use to reduce the effects of the disease is left to the patient. The decision on whether to use cannabis in the treatment of cancer or not is theirs as well. Proper information in regards to the drug, its pain and symptom management processes, and the evidence of benefits and possible side effects should be given to the patient.
Doctors play an essential part in this decision. They are responsible for administering the drug and should ensure they give the right doses. Remember, patients may have their preferences when it comes to cannabis use. It is your responsibility as a doctor to offer responsible advice to your patients before administering any form of drug.
When working with a professional who controls cancer treatment therapy, look for a well-trained professional who knows the positive and negative side effects of cannabis. Do not forget to take cannabis seriously as a necessary treatment and part of the overall cancer strategy.