The Role of Cannabis in Treating the Side-Effects of Chemotherapy
More and more evidence points towards using the compounds in medical marijuana to alleviate pain. There is a growing movement supporting the role of cannabis in treating the side effects of chemotherapy. The Canadian Cancer Society has weighed in and listed some of the positives of using cannabis in this way.
Cannabinoids can help people cope with the side effects and symptoms of chemotherapy including:
Vomiting and nausea
There have been several studies that have shown conclusively that cannabinoids can help alleviate nausea and vomiting from certain kinds of chemotherapy. Currently, there is a pharmaceutical that even contains synthetic cannabinoids.
Loss of appetite is another consequence of chemotherapy treatments. Clinical trials have shown that marijuana can actually increase appetite. Studies have shown that marijuana’s active ingredients are more readily absorbed into the bloodstream when it is smoked. That’s why a small amount of studies from the United States have shown positive results in treating the side effects of chemotherapy using this method.
It’s also interesting to note THC and cannabinoids like CBD hinder the growth of some cancer cells grown in laboratory environments.
The American Cancer Society has done some research on how marijuana is beneficial to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. One of the deciding factors is the strain used. Research indicates that different strains have different mixture of THC and CBD levels.
This means the effects of different kinds of marijuana often depend on the strain used. The effectiveness of marijuana on chemotherapy patients also depends on how the drug is ingested.
When the marijuana is eaten, it takes hours to ingest into the bloodstream and have any desired effect. The difference is in the fact that it is absorbed by the liver this way. This method actually disguises another active compound that works with the THC and makes the results more unpredictable.
When marijuana is either smoked or vaporized, it enters the bloodstream much more quickly and the effects are noticeable more rapidly. On the other hand, the effects of marijuana that is smoked or vaporized don’t last as long as the same amount that is eaten.
Keep in mind the American Cancer Society has an overall positive message about the usefulness of marijuana and the after effects of chemotherapy. However, at this point they caution against using marijuana only and excluding other prescribed medications.