Cannabis for Cancer Symptoms
Cancer is touching the lives of so many around the world, either directly or through a loved one. Even though it’s not yet approved as a cancer treatment, the legal acceptance of medical cannabis is encouraging many cancer patients to ask their doctors about the benefits it can have on cancer and symptoms associated with treatment.
The cannabis plant has been used for centuries by numerous cultures including being listed as one of 50 essential herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Information from ancient records mentions it having a healing effect on more than 100 conditions.
Dr. Ralph Mechaoulam, professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, made an important discovery in the mid 1990’s. He discovered a system in the body that seemed to have a balancing effect on every other system. He called it the Endocannabinoid system and it is found in all mammals.
The EC system is made up of several receptors that are designed to accept cannabinoids. Two of these receptors are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Research conducted in the 1980’s identified two main receptors for cannabinoids – cannabinoid 1 and cannabinoid 2.
These two receptors CB1 and CB2 were designed by our bodies as specific targets for THC and our natural endocannabinoids help to synthesize it.
The medical benefits of cannabis have been known since 2003 when the US government patented medical marijuana (http://www.google.com/patents/US6630507 ) which mentioned the antioxidant properties of cannabis and stated the drug like effects it can have on the body and the benefits on patients undergoing chemo, radiation or other forms of oxidative stress.
A microbiologist, Dr. Christine Sanchez, of the Compultense University in Madrid has studied cannabinoids and cancer since the early 2000’s. She states that “the endocannabinoid system regulates a lot of biological functions like appetite, food intake, motor function, reproduction and much more and that’s why this plant has such a wide therapeutic potential”.
Many studies have shown that cannabinoids stimulate appetite and increase the amount of food someone can consume daily. This is particularly important for cancer patients during treatment who have no appetite due to nausea or vomiting.
Conventional advice from Dieticians and most doctors, when a cancer patient has no appetite, is vomiting and losing weight is to recommend drinks such as Boost or Ensure. These beverages contain all types of preservatives, colors, thickeners and excess amounts of sugars. They also contain poor quality & genetically modified sources of oils such as canola and corn. These are the last things that should be in a cancer patient’s diet.
Analgesic Effect (pain relief)
Cannabinoid receptors produce analgesia through spinal, supraspinal and peripheral modes of action. Receptors located in the central nervous system, peripheral nerve terminals and in peripheral tissue contribute to pain reduction and to pain management through anti-inflammatory mechanisms. If you’re looking for pain relief during the day to allow you to function the Sativa varieties
Anxiety and Sleep
There are over 80 compounds in cannabis which are all documented to relive symptoms of illness by attaching themselves to various receptors in the brain that look for similar compounds that occur naturally in the human body. Medical marijuana strains are bred to contain different levels of each compound based on its use. When it comes to fighting sleep problems THC is known for its sedative properties especially within the Indica strains. On the other hand if the insomnia is related to anxiety it’s important that the strain includes some CBD to offset the psychoactive effects of the THC. Note *** CBD does not make you feel stoned or high.
Antiemetic Effects (preventing vomiting)
As many cancer patients, AIDS patients and others will attest smoking cannabis does help mitigate feelings of nausea and vomiting. Although complex to understand how cannabis works “The antiemetic action of cannabinoids is believed to be mediated via interaction with the 5-hydroxytryptamine 3 (5-HT3) receptor” it is well explained in the attached article with scientific studies to back it up. http://herb.co/2017/01/03/cannabis-chemotherapy-induced-nausea/
Methods of use
For many cancer patients smoking the cannabis is not a pleasant option. There are other various ways this product can be used.
Vaporizers – This is a machine you buy which heats your flower or extract into a vapor which you then inhale
Capsules – Some medical marijuana companies provide a finely ground product that is ready to place in capsules for oral consumption.
Transdermal Patches – Attached to specific areas on the body
Suppositories – inserted into the rectum where it is absorbed through the colon.
Sublingual sprays and Tinctures – sprayed under the tongue.
Hemp Oil – Taken orally or applied topically to skin lesions.
The power of Hemp Oil
Hemp oil has long been recognized as one of the most beneficial substances known. Medicinal hemp oil is derived from hemp buds; it is regarded as a treatment for many ailments. Keep in mind, the hemp oil mentioned (in this article) is NOT the hemp oil found in health food stores.
If you have cancer use cannabis wisely
- Learn about the different strains and which is best for you
- Use a reputable source
- Use natural cannabis products – Synthetic cannabinoids like Marinol as not as effective as natural substances.
- Work with a professional healthcare provider – someone knowledgeable in this type of therapy
- Make cannabis a part of your complete therapy – This include changing your diet and lifestyle, addressing stress, getting better sleep, exercise, detoxing and using appropriate supplements.