Health care parameters are broadly judged on the quantity and quality of life (QoL) that a person lives. Cancer treatment by modern medical standards focuses more on quality of life rather than factors such as stress, anxiety, pain, fatigue, depression and fear of death, and are mostly overlooked by some healthcare professionals. Did you know that 50-70% of cancer patients suffering from unmanaged pain, feel that they are more fearful of pain than death? While approximately 40%-50% of pain has been described as moderate to severe, the remaining 25%-30% of cancer pain has been described as very severe.
Quality of life (QoL) comprises the physical, the psychosocial, the social and the spiritual dimensions of life lived by a person. Cancer pain, being of the physical component, has enormous impact on the QoL of the patient and is multifaceted and complex to comprehend since managing cancer pain consists of pharmacological as well as non-pharmacological intercessions. Vigorous surgeries, radiotherapy as well as chemotherapy all concentrate more on extending the life of the patient, not comprehending the reality that the QoL they live is also equally important. But what about natural, herbal pain relief? What about marijuana?
Marijuana and Cannabis, comes in three types which are:
And those are just the best known names, so take your pick. Scientists have revealed numerous chemically active components in marijuana called cannabis.The two most studied components are the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, and cannabis also known as CBD.
Currently, the use of medical marijuana is legally used in some states to treat certain medical conditions, including cancer. Although not a cure for cancer — for some — and in some cases, medical marijuana could be the difference between having a tolerable day with less pain vs an intolerable day of pain. Dronabinol and nabilone are pharmaceutical, man-made forms of THC and cannabis approved by the FDA to treat certain conditions.
Different chemicals in marijuana possess different actions within your body. For instance, THC causes you to feel the mental effects of getting "high", it can also be helpful in relieving pain and nausea, it has antioxidant properties, and it has the ability to reduce inflammation. CBD, on the other hand, can assist in helping to treat seizures, reduce paranoia and anxiety and can counteract the THC "high".
The probable benefits of medical marijuana for people living with cancer include:
There are different varieties as far as strains and types of marijuana plants that have varying amounts of active chemical compounds, meaning that the marijuana "high" will have different effects based on the strain and how you use it.
Again, marijuana will have varying effects depending on how you ingest it. You can either cook it in food (edible marijuana), smoking (joint), or by vaping (inhaled through a glass marijuana bowl, pipe or hookah).
There have been a number of studies in relation to marijuana and cancer, and it was found that marijuana can be helpful in dealing with the side effects from chemotherapy such as regurgitation and nausea. Other studies have found that smoked or vaporized marijuana can assist with neuropathic pain treatment and people who used marijuana extracts needed less pain medication.
Scientists reported that THC and CBD may slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells that have been lab grown. Some studies on animals indicate that certain cannabis may slow growth and reduce the spread of certain types of cancer.
There are some strains of marijuana that may cause some unwelcome side effects such as disorientation, anxiety, paranoia, and lethargy. The most common side effects from most strains include euphoria, help with insomnia, increase appetite, talkative, giggly, creative, red eyes and dry mouth.
Since marijuana comes in different strains with different levels of potency, each person's experience can be different, so speak with your medical marijuana care provider about the different strains and which would be right for you.
There are other alternative methods that have proven effective in relieving cancer pain in patients which include: