How Medical Marijuana Can Help Cancer
Does Cancer Qualify For Medical Marijuana in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, cancer is a qualifying condition for treatment with cannabis, and for good reason. According the National Cancer Institute, there are approximately 15 million Americans currently living with cancer, with roughly 12,000 new cancer diagnoses made just this year in West Virginia.
The available evidence demonstrates that cannabis is an incredibly powerful and safe medicine for individuals living with cancer and treatment-related side effects. In particular, the power of marijuana to alleviate nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, pain, depression, anxiety, and insomnia have been well documented and offer the potential for significant relief to those undergoing treatment for cancer.
How Does Medical Marijuana Interact With The Body?
To better understand how medical marijuana can help individuals with cancer, we need to first take a look at how medical marijuana works. The primary way in which medical cannabis works is by influencing the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a network of cannabinoid proteins and receptors throughout the body that influence the central and peripheral nervous system. This system is involved in the regulation of bodily processes, such as appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.
Many of these cannabinoid proteins that are naturally produced in our bodies are also found in marijuana. For example, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are two of the most common compounds found in marijuana that many of the plant’s medicinal benefits are attributed to.
How Medical Marijuana Helps Patients With Cancer
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting the effectiveness of marijuana in helping those living with cancer, however the amount of research from the United States is limited due to the legal status of marijuana under federal law. However, researchers from overseas have picked up the slack, and they have been able to clearly demonstrate that marijuana can help in managing the following:
Living with pain can be unbearable, and many patients turn to opiate-based medications for the relief they need. Unfortunately, continued use of opiate-based medications can result in significant unwanted side effects and has the potential to lead to addiction. Medical marijuana has proven incredibly effective at providing pain relief, and it may have some anti-inflammatory effects as well. Some treatment plans may make use of both opioids and marijuana in order to reduce the dosage of opiate medication that is needed. Recent studies have long found that individuals using marijuana extracts during clinical trials tended to need less opioid-based pain medication.
Neuropathy is often associated with damage to nerves, which can unfortunately occur when undergoing chemotherapy and other forms of cancer treatments. Neuropathy can be a difficult sensation to describe, as symptoms vary significantly from individual to individual. Patients often experience weakness, numbness, tingling, needles, or burning sensations. Exactly how marijuana helps isn’t yet clear, but many patients with neuropathy report feeling significant relief after using cannabis.
It is well known that nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. A variety of medical cannabis products have been demonstrated to significantly reduce nausea and other unwanted side-effects from these treatments.
Similar to nausea, loss of appetite is often a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Without an appetite, it can become challenging for cancer patients to consume enough calories. This can result in loss of muscle mass, chronic fatigue, and a decline in mobility. However, specific cannabinoids have proven to be effective method to restore appetite for individuals undergoing treatment.
Cannabinoid -Based Drugs
Although marijuana is technically illegal under federal law, the U.S. government has found a way to make an exception for certain drug companies. As of right now, there are two drugs, which are derived from marijuana compounds, that have been granted approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Dronabinol (Marinol) is a gelatin capsule containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that’s approved by the FDA to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. It is also intended to help with weight loss and poor appetite in patients with AIDS.
Nabilone (Cesamet) is a synthetic cannabinoid that acts much like THC. It can be taken by mouth to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy when other drugs have not worked.
Is Medical Marijuana Right For You?
Everyone is different. Medical Marijuana has the potential to provide significant relief for some people, and not as much for others. With medical marijuana now legal in West Virginia, the choice is up to you. If you're interested in trying medical marijuana, but you don't want to get the "high" feeling often associated with the plant, don't worry! There are new medical marijuana products that isolate the plant's therapeutic compounds while eliminating much of the THC that is responsible for the "high".
If you are a West Virginia resident suffering from a medical condition you think may benefit cannabis, you're likely eligible for medical marijuana treatment.
Click here to learn more about what West Virginia Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at (877) 303-8424 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process and schedule you for an evaluation appointment.