Can Medical Marijuana Ease Cancer and Chemotherapy Side-Effects?
Cancer affects around 1.7 million Americans each year. Advances in medical technology have provided new data and insights into this disease and may ultimately lead to a cure.
Currently, those who are living with the disease and who are feeling the side effects of treatment are increasingly turning to medical marijuana for relief. Serenity Medical Online is a proud partner for many of those patients who have opted to include medical marijuana as part of their battle against cancer.
Ask any cancer patient what they have tried to offset the pain and side effects of chemo, and you will hear most likely hear how they have done everything their oncologist has suggested.
Unfortunately, it is not always enough. In some states, patients are now being offered the opportunity to explore the benefits of medical marijuana.
The National Cancer Institute notes that medical marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. There is a reason it is recommended for cancer patients, and that is because it offers relief when nothing else can.
The legalities of marijuana can be a bit confusing. We provide a breakdown of medical marijuana for cancer patients, the laws surrounding the use, how these laws might affect you, and most importantly, how medical marijuana can improve the quality of life for cancer patients.
Navigating Federal and State Laws
In the United States, marijuana is a controlled substance, which makes it federally illegal to possess or use. On the federal level, research purposes are exempt from this law.
Each state, however, can determine whether it will allow cancer patients the option of incorporating medical marijuana into their pain management regiment to help with nausea, anxiety, loss of appetite and other side effects.
It’s worth noting that each state’s laws, approved uses and limitations vary widely. For example, in California, medical marijuana can be used for those with autism and Alzheimer’s Disease, but in New York, medical marijuana is not allowed for those two diagnoses.
One myth associated with medical marijuana is that it must be smoked to reap the benefits. Cannabis can be consumed in other ways, including orally, inhaling or by spraying it under the tongue. Again, state laws vary.
5 Things You May Not Know About Treating Cancer with Medical Marijuana
- Did you know that cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in laboratory testing?
- The effects of “chemo brain” can last long after a patient is no longer in chemotherapy, but medical marijuana can help greatly with reducing this side-effect.
- For years, cannabis was not believed to contribute anything from a medicinal point of view; however, in the early/ mid-1970s, the U.S. government distributed it to patients under its Compassionate Use Investigational New Drug (IND) program. This continued into the 1990s.
- The National Cancer Institute has noted some research touts the presence of cannabinoid receptors on immune system cells couldmean cannabinoids have a role in immunity.
- A California study involving 84,000 men showed bladder cancer diagnoses were 45% lower in those men who used cannabis verses those who did not.
If you’re thinking that the laws and guidelines are confusing, you are not alone. The hard lines drawn by the federal government, most recently Attorney General Sessions’ orders U.S. attorneys to aggressively pursue those who grow and distribute marijuana, regardless of any particular state laws, only adds to that confusion.
Fortunately, there are many who are vehement in their belief and confidence in medical marijuana, its benefits, and the importance for Americans to have a choice. Serenity Medical Online offers a great FAQ page that is focused on California’s laws.
We provide answers to some of the most challenging misconceptions and contradictory guidelines from the government. We stand ready to assist our clients in a way that will allow them to enjoy their days with confidence and comfort, whether they are or are not currently receiving chemotherapy.
One thing we have learned from our clients is that no one regrets their decision to incorporate medical marijuana into their cancer treatment regimen. Many say without the benefits of marijuana, their side-effects and pain would have been almost too much to bear.
How to Determine if Medical Marijuana Can Help You
The first step is to speak with your oncologist. Even bringing a list with some of your questions to your next appointment can go a long way in helping you decide whether to pursue this as an additional tool in your battle against cancer.
You will also want to explore the best way to consume cannabis. Again, your oncologist is a great source of information who can help you make that determination. They will point out pros and cons based on your unique diagnosis.
Remember, you are your biggest advocate. Ask questions, explore options, and do what is best for you on this journey. Serenity Medical Online stands ready to provide help in any way it can.