One of the most controversial subjects in recent years has been marijuana; the dried leaves and buds of the Cannabis Sativa plant. On one side, there are strong calls to have marijuana legalized, or at least for medicinal purposes. Equally motivated is another group that opposes the legalization and use of marijuana even for medical purposes.
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Though marijuana has been used to alleviate symptoms of various conditions for thousands of years and by different cultures, it is still classified as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration, meaning it is illegal under federal law. Many scientific studies over the years have ascertained that marijuana does indeed have medicinal properties that can be used to alleviate symptoms of many diseases.
As a result, there are close to thirty states in the US that have approved the use of medical marijuana, albeit for varying conditions. Medical marijuana can be used in the treatment of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, Epilepsy, Schizophrenia, Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Glaucoma. However, there are now bold claims that cannabis can be used to cure cancer.
In this article, you will find out whether cannabis can indeed help cancer patients.
There are over 100 different chemicals in the marijuana plant. These chemicals are referred to as cannabinoids, and each of them affects the human body differently. The two main compounds in marijuana used for medicinal purposes are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Though THC can cause people to feel high, it is effective in reducing inflammation, relieving pain and nausea, and can also be used as an oxidant. On the other hand, CBD can be used to counteract the high caused by THC and also helps reduce paranoia and anxiety as well as treat seizures.
Marijuana and Cancer
Based on findings from studies on the medical effects of marijuana conducted on cancer patients, it has been established that marijuana can help treat cancer in the following ways:
Cancer is known to cause pain, which can, at times, be excruciating. This pain is often caused when the tumor is pressing on organs, nerves, or even bones. At times, pain can be a side effect of treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
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Marijuana has been found to have similar effects to opioids (powerful painkillers) when treating cancer pain. In addition, marijuana also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which also help with pain management. As such, where medical marijuana is legalized, it is often prescribed together with opioids.
2. Nausea and Vomiting
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy often result in side effects such as nausea and vomiting. One of the drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remedy this, Dronabinol, is a synthetic cannabinoid, highlighting how cannabinoids can help with nausea and vomiting. Other studies have also shown that medical marijuana is an effective treatment too.
Complications arising from chemotherapy and other cancer treatments can cause nerve damage (neuropathy). A condition associated with numbness, tingling, weakness, and burning sensations in the hands and feet. Research indicates that medical marijuana can help alleviate neuropathic pain.
4. Anorexia and Cachexia
Other effects of cancer are cachexia and anorexia (loss of appetite). Cachexia and wasting syndrome result in unintentional weight loss as it results in the loss of lean muscle and fat, which is accompanied by a decline in functional abilities and fatigue. Though there are limited studies to demonstrate that medical marijuana can effectively manage these symptoms, dronabinol, a synthetic cannabinoid, is FDA approved to help relieve anorexia associated with AIDS.
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Does Cannabis Cure Cancer?
Though research on the role marijuana can play in the treatment of cancer are still in the early stages, it is already evident that it is effective in alleviating many cancer symptoms and can significantly improve the quality of life for cancer patients.
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