Marijuana won’t make cancer disappear, but it can make living with it much more bearable. Doctors need to start asking the right questions.
Cancer is something most of us don’t like to think about, but it’s also something the vast majority of us are going to have to face sooner or later.
Because North Americans are generally living longer, it’s estimated as many as 1 in 2 of us will face a cancer diagnosis in our lifetimes. Even if we’re lucky enough not to have it happen to us, odds are it will affect a loved one or friend.
Even though treatments for cancer are improving by leaps and bounds (in the last couple of years, drugs called immunotherapeutics have shown huge promise against tough-to-treat ailments like pancreatic cancer) it’s important to understand treatment options.
Treating cancer: chemo, radiation and relief
Most cancer treatment plans are focussed on two methods: using radiation to kill tumours directly and using chemical agents – chemotherapy – to trick cancer cells into destroying themselves.
Both of these methodologies have advantages and drawbacks, and it’s likely an individual treatment plan will involve both elements.
Unfortunately, because both radiation treatments and chemotherapy can be quite harsh on the body, they can result in significant side effects: nausea and vomiting; constipation and diarrhea and neuropathy, which can be painful.
But, just as there are exciting new drugs on the horizon to tackle even the most stubborn cancers, a newly-legalized class of compounds can bring much to bear on dealing with the symptoms of cancer treatment: cannabis products.
There’s lots of data out there showing the active ingredients in marijuana can make the cancer treatment phase more bearable. This is due to the analgesic properties of THC and CBD; their anti-nauseant effects and the ability of cannabinoids to stimulate appetite.
Cannabis conundrum: Can it kill cancer directly?
However, a lot of misinformation and pseudoscience is floating around about what exactly cannabis products can contribute to treating cancer.
One pseudoscientific idea that gets a lot of traction on social media is that the active ingredients in cannabis, including THC, CBD and other terpenes, can kill or alter the metabolism of cancer cells directly.
Products making such claims should be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially when dealing with a situation that’s as serious as a cancer diagnosis.
While several studies have shown the ingredients of cannabis can alter some biological markers in cancer cells, these analyses have been carried out in test tubes, and the effects of drugs on living tissues is much different.
What is clear is that cannabis does have a place in the arsenal of tools that’s now available to help in the battle against cancer, whether to manage the progression of symptoms or to effectively treat breakthrough pain – a very tricky and tough-to-treat kind of pain associated with advanced cancers.
Read full article here: https://greencamp.com/cannabis-and-cancer/