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Managing Cancer-Related Symptoms with Medical Cannabis.

Dante
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Last Updated: 
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Cancer is a complex disease that can cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms.

As the body of research grows, medical cannabis is emerging as a potential adjunct therapy for managing cancer-related symptoms.



Overview of Cannabis and its Medicinal Components


Cannabis is a plant that has been used medicinally for thousands of years.

The primary active compounds are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in numerous physiological processes, including pain and nausea control, suggesting a potential therapeutic role for cannabis in managing cancer-related symptoms.



Cancer-Related Symptoms and Cannabis


Cancer-related symptoms can include pain, nausea, loss of appetite, and emotional distress, such as anxiety and depression.

While traditional treatments are available to manage these symptoms, some patients do not respond adequately to these interventions or may experience undesirable side effects.



Research on Cannabis for Cancer-Related Symptoms


The therapeutic potential of cannabis for symptom management in cancer has been investigated in recent years.

A study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management in 2010 found that cannabis was effective at reducing pain and improving sleep in cancer patients (Wilsey et al., 2010).


Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2017 suggested that cannabis use could provide significant symptom relief in cancer patients, particularly in the areas of pain, nausea, and appetite loss (Bar-Sela et al., 2017).



Recommended Strains for Cancer-Related Symptoms


Certain cannabis strains may be more beneficial for managing cancer-related symptoms:

Sativa strains known for their high THC content, offer potent relief from pain and help stimulate appetite, making it a potential choice for cancer patients experiencing pain or loss of appetite.


They are also known for their potential to boost mood and energy while also relieving pain, and this is particularly beneficial for patients struggling with fatigue, pain, and the emotional distress often associated with a cancer diagnosis.

The Indica strains combine euphoric and relaxing effects, which helps manage stress and encourage appetite, making it a possible choice for patients coping with anxiety and reduced food intake.




Patient Stories


There are numerous accounts of cancer patients experiencing symptom relief with cannabis use.

Many patients find they experience fewer side effects with cannabis than with traditional medications.



Potential Side Effects and Risks


Cannabis can cause side effects like dry mouth, fatigue, and dizziness.

It can also impair short-term memory and coordination and increase heart rate. Long-term use can lead to cognitive impairment and mental health issues in susceptible individuals.



Conclusion


Medical cannabis shows promise in managing symptoms related to cancer, potentially offering relief for patients living with this condition.

While more research is needed, the existing evidence, along with patient experiences, offers hope.

As always, remember the importance of discussing any new treatment with a healthcare professional.



References


Wilsey, B., et al. (2010). A randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of cannabis cigarettes in neuropathic pain. Journal of Pain, 9(6), 506-521.

Bar-Sela, G., et al. (2017). Cannabis as a Therapeutic Option for Cancer Patients: A Review of Clinical Studies. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 35(15), 1802-1805.





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