Cannabis and Cancer: Understanding the Potential Effects
Even though originally from Central Asia, cannabis has for centuries been grown and used around the world. Everywhere it has been grown, the plant has been used for various medicinal purposes. Federal authorities in the U.S classify cannabis as a Schedule I drug. In effect, that means marijuana is a drug which is potentially prone to abuse and has no known medicinal use.
The resin in the cannabis plant produces compounds known as cannabinoids, which are mostly psychoactive. That’s in addition to flavonoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in plants. Even though thought to have medicinal properties, the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is yet to approve cannabis as medicine for any condition. However, medical marijuana is legally in use in many states in America and Canada. If you’re in Canada this online dispensary is the best place to go. If you’re located in Southern California, give HERB a call for any questions on interaction or cannabis products for same day delivery.
What Makes Cannabis Useful For Medicinal Purposes?
To reiterate, cannabis contains several cannabinoids, which are active ingredients that regulate biological functions in humans and other organisms. The cannabinoid that makes you feel “high” is known as Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the ingredient in marijuana which gives cannabis users its psychoactive effect. It is debatable weather this cannabinoid is physically addictive, but can have such tendencies on users. A great thing about THC is that it is useful when it comes to treating cancer. In the cannabis plant, the other major cannabinoid is CBD (cannabidiol). It is also potentially able to treat cancer and other medical conditions.
Cannabis and Cancer
Over the last few years, the potential of cannabis as a cancer treatment has become more apparent with the increase in the number of positive studies being released. That, together with the advent of a more accepting regulatory environment in Canada and the U.S. means this plant will be widely available for medicinal use in a few years. The following are some of the proven uses of cannabis:
Cannabis works the same way as opioids to help relieve cancer-related pain among patients. It may also have anti-inflammatory properties which, by extension, lessen pain. In some treatment plans, cannabis is used together with opioids.
Neuropathy refers to nerve damage. One of the complications of chemotherapy cancer treatments is neuropathy. Some of its symptoms include numbness, weakness, burning or tingling in the feet and hands. It turns out that cannabis can relieve pain due to neuropathy.
3. Nausea and Vomiting
Another known side-effect of chemotherapy is nausea and vomiting. Thus cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment have to take certain drugs to help them overcome these conditions. One of the well-known drugs is Dronabinol, a synthetically-produced cannabinoid approved by the FDA for the treatment of nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. At the same time, cannabis has been established to be effective in treating nausea and vomiting.
4. Anorexia and Cachexia
Medically, anorexia refers to the loss of appetite. On the other hand, cachexia and wasting syndrome is a term used to mean the involuntary loss of weight. It is characterized by the loss of fat and lean muscle. Cachexia is usually accompanied by unmitigated fatigue and the general loss of functional abilities.
Dronabinol, a synthetic cannabinoid, is also approved by the FDA for the treatment of anorexia due to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) but not cancer-related. Some studies (Cannabis and Cancer: Understanding the Potential Effects) have been done on cannabis and its effects on anorexia and cachexia. Even so, marijuana is known to be effective in improving appetite, a use which is already approved by most states in the U.S.
Preliminary studies on cannabis have shown that it can be useful in curtailing the growth of some types of tumors. There haven't been many human studies concerning the anti-cancer effects of cannabis. The process through which cannabis kills cancer cells is known as autopathy. The main cannabinoid involved in this is THC in very high concentrations.
It is clear that cannabis can be used for the treatment of cancer in more than one way. The only impediment is its continued proscription by governments across the world. It is basically impossible for scientists to carry out research without having to get approval from the FDA and other concerned authorities. More research is necessary to know how useful marijuana is going to be for people with cancer. If you need more information regarding cannabis and it’s products for cancer treatment in Canada, try Ontario Weed Online. If you’re in California, check out HERB.
Author Bio: Jessica has been closely studying the cannabis industry trends from quite some time. Intrigued by the booming growth of this sector, she takes an interest in penning down her views providing quality insight on current marijuana trends, particularly medical cannabis.