Cancer is a complex and heavily researched medical disease that we still have very few answers about, as well as no official cure, but in recent times, multiple cannabis studies across the globe have discovered just how many healing benefits medical marijuana can provide for patients of cancer, especially regarding some symptoms from conventional cancer treatments.
Did you know that in 2014 alone, there were a little less than 15 million people living with some type of cancer within the United States according to the National Cancer Institute? As we take a look at a worldwide survey, the National Cancer Institute expresses that when observing data from 2012-2014, 38.5% of men and women will, at some point in their life, be diagnosed with some form of cancer.
Although these numbers may seem fictional, made up or even completely absurd, they are very real and astounding statistics that bring reality to just how serious cancer is. Although there are constantly advancements being made in this aspect of medicine, there is still no PROVEN cure, but cannabis does step in to hold hands with conventional treatments, as cannabis brings some relief to patients suffering from adverse effects of chemo, radiation and some other alternative treatment methods.
What Is Cancer and Why is Cannabis a Good Treatment?
Scientifically defined, cancer is a category of related diseases in which unhealthy, cancer cells begin to rapidly grow and divide throughout the body. This process can be harmful, because compared with normal, healthy cells, cancer cells do not have a direct function or purpose, and rather become invasive within the body instead of specializing for a specific reason to assist the body. These cancerous cells can form together without stopping or pausing, rapidly growing into what are known as tumors, which then often have to be removed later on.
Tumors that are cancerous are known as being malignant, meaning they are capable of invading other nearby tissues and growing rapidly in those locations as well. During this process, other cancer cells can break off and travel far from the source location into other, far away places throughout the body. This is why we often hear of stories where cancer has spread into various parts of a person’s body.
Sometimes, tumors can be classified as benign. This is generally a much more positive result, because although this class of tumors can grow extremely large and needs to be removed surgically, benign tumors don’t have cells that break off and spread throughout the body. Unlike malignant tumors, benign tumors likely do not grow back after removal. Benign tumors, once removed, generally are not life threatening, unless they are located within the brain, which is an exception where the mass then needs to be urgently removed in order to prevent any complications from arising. Hospitals take any type of mass within the brain very seriously and act quickly upon a result such as this one.
Cancer cells arise due to a malfunctioning within the genes, and in this sense, cancer is genetic. Genes control the way in which the body’s cells function; how they grow, divide and then eventually sometimes die off. As cells divide, errors can occur within these genes, as well as the DNA itself can become damaged.
Additionally, some individuals inherit this faulty genetic programming from family members, making their cells more susceptible to problems later on. The DNA itself can become damaged mostly due to environmental toxins, such as exposure to radiation (including from the sun) and carcinogens, such as the smoke from cigarettes or other tobacco products. There are plenty of substances within the environment, including everyday pollution that can damage the cells, genes and even DNA, but just because one is exposed to these toxins, does not guarantee that they will acquire cancer in their lifetime, it simply increases their risk statistically speaking.
Common Types of Cancer:
Since cancer is essentially just a collection of incorrect cells, it can occur just about anywhere in the body, and spread extremely far from the point of origin, through the body or even the lymph system. Due to this, the most common types of cancer in the world are mostly in unrelated, unconnected parts of the body.
What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is an extremely common form of cancer amongst females, with around 3 million women said to be living within the United States with breast cancer currently. Women are not the only individuals at risk however, men can also develop breast cancer, with about 2,500 men typically being diagnosed with the disease each year. Breast cancer occurs when the cells within the breast tissue become unhealthy and spread rapidly, often times forming tumors that can sometimes be felt as lumps during important self-checks, and other times can be seen with x-ray pictures.
These rapidly growing cells can be cancer cells, although most of the time any lumps present end up benign and don’t pose much threat once removed. In other, more severe situations, the tumor can be malignant, containing cancer cells, and these can invade other parts of the breast tissue, or they can even go as far as invading other parts of the body, which is known as metastasizing. Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer amongst women in the world.
What Is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a very different kind of cancer compared to the other most common forms, for it affects the blood and the marrow within the bones. Nothing can be done to prevent someone from developing Leukemia, and although most of the cases publicly seen are amongst children, more adults actually develop Leukemia than kids.
Additionally, men are more likely to develop this disease, and Caucasians are more likely than African-Americans to be diagnosed with Leukemia. Leukemia is the 10th most common form of cancer amongst all genders and races, and it is said that more than 350,000 individuals will be living with Leukemia in 2017 in the United States alone.
What exactly is going on within the body when one has Leukemia?
As a basic description, this disease is diagnosed when an individual’s body over produces white blood cells, which are the ones that help to fight infections. Due to this, not enough red blood cells (which carry oxygen) are produced and neither are platelets (which cause the blood to clot when it needs to). All of these blood cells, millions to be exact, are being produced from within the bone marrow, which means that the marrow is not correctly outputting the cells. The extra white cells being produced are Leukemia cells, which cannot actually properly fight away infections or protect the body from its surroundings. This overproduction of faulty white blood cells can take over the body and begin to shut down organs, causing some, if not many, major organs to function improperly, as well as the red blood cells not being able to supply the body with enough internal oxygen. A third issue, the platelets within the blood stop being able to clot the blood, which can generate a severe loss of blood from a minute injury, or even extreme bruising and anemia.
The combination of these three basic body functions shutting down can cause detrimental issues, even in drastic cases leading to death. Sometimes, Leukemia patients need to have a blood transfusion in order for their chances of survival to go up, as well as some end up having a bone marrow transplant. Aside from these more extreme treatments, most Leukemia patients end up undergoing some form of chemotherapy or radiation treatment to kill the cancer cells within the body.
What Is Skin Cancer?
Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer at some point in their lifetime?
Skin cancer occurs when there is an abnormal and uncontrollable growth of the skin cells, often times spotted because of a wart of mole on the body changing color, shape, texture or size. It is mostly caused because of UV radiation, which is extreme amounts or with prolonged exposure can damage the actual DNA of skin cells, causing a triggering of mutations or genetic defects, which further can turn into rapidly multiplying unhealthy skin cells that grow and form tumors that can be either benign or malignant.
There are three common types of this disease: melanomas, basal cell skin cancers and squamous cell skin cancers, with the later two being the most common because they are very heavily linked to amount of sun exposure. These two more common types of skin cancer are also less likely to spread throughout other parts of the body, but they are still extremely vital to discover early and treat, so that no further cancer cells can grow. Melanomas, the third class of skin cancer, although they are more rare, they are much more serious than basal and squamous cell skin cancers, because they have a tendency to grow and spread at a much quicker rate, making them far more dangerous. It can be effortlessly taken care of in early stages, but if it gets left alone unchecked, it can cause real issues that could end up as life threatening.
Due to all this information, wearing sunscreen and sun protection lotion can help to prevent the development of cancer growth within the skin cells, as well as regularly getting any warts or moles checked on the skin that look questionable or odd in any way. Aside from these three common types of skin cancer, many others do exist as well, but they are far less likely to develop.
What Is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer is caused by an uncontrollable and abnormal growth of cells within either one lung or both. These cells, known as cancer cells, can group together to form masses, known as tumors. When new cells attempt to develop, they turn into these unhealthy cancer cells and are therefore unable to perform the normal functions of constructing new lung tissue, repairing the lungs and going about the normal day to day functions of these organs that literally supply our body with oxygen, so we can survive. Lung cancer primarily affects individuals over the age of 65, with 2 out of 3 adults getting diagnosed after 65 years of age. The average age of diagnosis is 70 years old, so often times people are diagnosed even older than 65.
When not including skin cancer, lung cancer is the second most common cancer among men and women, where only prostate cancer (in men) and breast cancer (in women) ranks higher in prevalence. More than 220,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2017 in the United States alone, showing that this cancer is, indeed, extremely common. Additionally, lung cancer is the leading cause of death by cancer amongst men and women, with many cases of this disease arising due to a history of regular tobacco smoking. Although lung cancer can arise from reasons other than a history of smoking, consuming cigarettes does increase the risk quite greatly.
Additionally, breathing asbestos or exposure to radon gas throughout a lifetime, can increase the chances of healthy cells developing genetic mutations within the cell’s DNA, leading to unhealthy cells that cannot perform their functions correctly. Cancer will not arise from a few mutations, rather it takes a series of mutations of the cells within the lungs to cause lung cancer to appear, which may be the reason as to why this disease is typically developed during the senior years. Primary and secondary lung cancer are two classifications of this illness, with primary cancer beginning within the lungs and sometimes spreading into other parts of the body as it develops further along, while secondary cancer rather begins in another part of the body and then metastasizes into the lungs. This secondary lung cancer isn’t actually referred to as lung cancer, but rather a metastasized version of whatever type of cancer spread into the lungs (e.g. metastasized breast cancer, etc.).
Related article: Marijuana Users 45% Less Likely to Get Bladder Cancer
Who Does Cancer Affect?
The scary fact regarding this disease might be, that cancer can affect absolutely anyone of any age, race, gender or class. This is what possibly makes it such a terrifying medical disease for so many, because no one is safe from cancer. However, preventative measures can be taken to decrease your chances of getting cancer. Those who have an ancestral history of cancer in their genetic lineage are more likely to acquire it, as well as those who make poor lifestyle choices; smoking, drinking heavily, drug use, eating bad food regularly, not exercising, etc.
Those who are overweight, obese, have diabetes, heart conditions and so much more are also at greater risk. Keeping healthy and living an active lifestyle is the best solution to subsiding any possible fear, and taking care of yourself physically has also been proven to increase the quality of mental health, leading to not only a happier body, but also a happier mind. Cannabis is also a great treatment, but you’ll have to continue reading to find out more about cannabis as a cancer treatment.
Stages of Cancer
There are four stages of cancer used to classify how far along one’s cancer has gotten, and each stage typically describes the size of the cancer, as well as if it has spread anywhere else within the body, whether it be within the same general region, or to a completely different area. By determining a patient’s stage of cancer, the correct action for treatment can be determined. Cancers that are not so far along typically are only located in one smaller portion of the body, therefore they need to be treated locally, while more developed cancers require a treatment that can cover a greater region of the body, known as systemic treatments. An explanation of the stages are as follows:
Stage 1. This cancer is the least developed of the four stages, and generally has a high recovery rate. Cancer that is only in stage 1 of development is caught early and can be treated quite simply with today’s advanced medical technology. Stage 1 cancer is also typically relatively small and contained within its single organ of origin. Local removal through surgery or another similar medical procedure generally can take this cancer out of the body, although sometimes it can come back.
Stage 2. Stage 2 cancer is further along than stage 1, however it likely has not spread into other parts of the body yet. Although, in some types of cancer, stage 2 can mean that the unhealthy cells have begun to travel through the lymph nodes, typically nearby the tumor. Stage 2 tumors are generally larger than in stage 1, and with this classification of cancer, sometimes local removal is efficient enough at making the body cancer-free, but other times it has to paired up with systemic treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation. It all depends on each individual’s case.
Stage 3. Cancer is stage 3 is significantly larger and further developed than it is in the previous two stages. Often times, it has begun to spread throughout surrounding tissues, and the removal of the point of origin for cancer this far along, is a much more challenging and gruelling task for medical practitioners. By stage 3, doctors are typically already resorting to the use of chemotherapy, radiation or another systemic treatment, because often times the simple removal of the point of origin is not effective enough, and the cancer can quickly return.
Stage 4. Cancer that has grown to stage 4 is at its most serious level, and by this point is oftentimes referred to as metastatic cancer or secondary cancer. Systemic treatments almost always must be used by this point, and even these treatments do not guarantee and individual will stay cancer-free or make a recovery. Once a cancer is classified as stage 4, it has spread into another organ or part of the body, which is why it becomes such a difficulty to treat and eliminate.
Causes of Cancer:
There is a massive variety of factors that are said to be causes of cancer, although none of them are truly and completely understood and are more so considered a risk increase rather than a guarantee. Possibilities range from genetic predisposition, to accidental environmental exposure, to poor lifestyle choices. In reality, anything that can produce some form of abnormality in the cells of the body, has a potential for becoming a cause of cancer, which is why there are just so many conditions in our world that can put us at risk. Even if proving the direct origin for one’s cancer is almost impossible, we will at least discuss the most common causes here, so that one can better grasp just how cancer is affecting populations globally:
Inherited Cancer/Genetic Predisposition:
Although it is extremely unusual to be born with cancer, individuals can more commonly be born with a greater likelihood of developing cancer sometime during their lifetime, which is often why doctors will ask about your family’s medical history during checkups. It is said that someone who has family members affected by cancer, are more likely to develop cancer themselves, which is also a reason why these individuals are told to make healthier lifestyle choices, such as not smoking, drinking only recreationally, having a proper diet and partaking in sufficient amounts of exercise. All these improved choices still do not guarantee a cancer-free life for anyone, but it certainly does lessen the odds.
Toxic Compound Exposure/Environmental Toxins and Pollution:
There’s a hefty list of chemical and toxic compounds that when an individual is exposed to them for a generous period of time, it can lead to cancer cells forming more rapidly in the body. It is common knowledge that these components do encourage cancer growth, and many are advised by professionals to stay away from them as much as possible, yet still they can be present in our surrounding environment, sometimes even without our knowledge. Some of these toxic compounds include: cigarette smoke, asbestos, benzene, vinyl chloride, nickel, aflatoxin and many more. Primarily, cigarette smoke is the most heavily prevalent, with more than 36 million adults said to be smokers just in the United States alone. That is why second and third hand smoke prevention has become a massive matter throughout the states, especially to protect children and babies from potentially experiencing the effects of these toxic components. Everyday exposure to pollution, poor-air quality and toxins naturally present in the environment, can also disrupt the natural flow of healthy body cells, causing them to alter into cancer-containing cells. Those who are present around pollution are more at risk of developing cancer, primarily those who reside for long periods of time in heavily populated and dirty, big cities.
Poor Lifestyle Choices/Carcinogens:
Making poor lifestyle choices, is likely one of the more common reasons for the development of cancer, but this category is so wide and all-inclusive, that many activities not listed here could also be viewed as poor lifestyle choices. Probably the most prevalent, is smoking and the use of tobacco. Many cancer cases have been discovered by doctors globally amongst frequent smokers who have used some form of tobacco for many years. Additionally, having a poor diet, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, excessive use of tanning beds and drug use, are all activities that can increase the risk. Some acquired medical conditions can also lead to cancer, including diabetes and obesity, which sometimes present a potential for this disease. Staying away from cigarette use, only consuming alcohol in moderation and leading a healthy and active lifestyle, are all ways of benefitting your health and helping to keep your cells from turning into rapidly spreading cancer cells. Still, it is vital to remember that nothing can actually completely remove the possibility of acquiring cancer. Even some individuals who have led completely healthy lives have still developed cancer. Additionally, some individuals have had high exposure to a mass variety of toxic compounds, poor lifestyle choices and plenty of carcinogens, but still do not develop cancer during their lifetime.
Radiation can occur casually through everyday wear-and-tear, or it can be due to a more serious cause, such as residing in a vulnerable location during a nuclear bomb, or radioactive meltdown. For example, after Chernobyl happened in Ukraine, some individuals developed a plethora of diseases and conditions after the nuclear power plant melted down.
Unfortunately, these unlucky people were too close in proximity to the disaster, impacting their health in a very direct way, some passing due to acute radiation syndrome, while further health effects long term are still being investigated amongst surviving citizens. It may turn out in the future, that some of the individuals too close in proximity may have developed cancer due to this radiation literally changing their DNA structure. This is why during a nuclear disaster, the evacuation of nearby civilians and residents is vital to the long-term survival and health of everyone.
The more common form of radiation that we all experience in various amounts on a day-to-day basis, is from the sun. UV-rays from the sun can cause cells to mutate in extreme amounts, which is why doctors often advise the use of full spectrum sunscreen when going outside, even if it is simply for a short period of time. Sunscreen can help to prevent radiation from the sun’s harmful UV rays, keeping your risk of developing skin cancer much lower. Even if these risks are well understood, some people still choose to enter tanning beds, where their skin is impacted with a strong burst of UV rays, to mimic the sun, so a brown glow can be quickly achieved.
Tanning beds are extremely harmful to the skin, with oncologists telling people to boycott these facilities due to their negative impacts on the health and their ability to increase the risk of skin cancer. Some oncologists have even gone as far as saying that tanning beds are to blame for the increase in lethal melanoma cases (skin cancer), which seems to be one of most common forms of cancer amongst young adults who are under the age of 30.
Other forms of radiation also exist, aside from these two heavy contenders, including uranium and radon radiation, as well as any radiation that can come of over exposure to beta, alpha, gamma and x-ray emitting sources.
Some viruses and bacterias are linked to a cancer risk, although much research is still being conducted on a large assortment of potentially harmful bacterias, viruses and even some parasites. As of now, HPV (human papillomavirus), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Merkel cell polyomavirus and the hepatitis b and c viruses, are all linked to a potential risk increase in developing this disease. There are some more viruses and bacterias as well, but these are some of the more common examples. For some of the sexually contracted viruses, the best method of avoiding contracting them, is by taking the proper precautions and using contraceptives regularly. Preparation and readiness are the ways to avoid contracting an STD or STI, but additionally some vaccines have arisen in recent times to generate prevention in contracting these viruses, specifically with the vaccination for HPV.
The pattern of who cancer effects is rather an odd one, for just because one is exposed to pollution or carcinogens, does not mean they will necessarily develop cancer. Additionally, some people can go their entire lives smoking cigarettes on a regular basis and have no complications, even if they might have a genetic predisposition. In reality, anything can happen, and it is not that these factors guarantee that cancer will present itself at some point during life, rather they are guidelines for keeping yourself healthy, because these factors do have a potential for possibly increasing the risk of cancer.
Symptoms of Cancer
Cancer is such as complex and diverse disease, it would seem likely that its symptoms are just the same. Often times, no two cancer patients’ symptoms are same, which can sometimes make recognizing a presence of this disease in the body a difficult task, with many people having their faulty cells or tumors go unnoticed for many years before they end up with a proper diagnosis. For some types of cancer, such as Breast Cancer, there are some self-checks and hospital checks that exist so that early detection is more likely, but with other types of cancer, often the presence of the disease is discovered when a patient goes into the hospital for a different reason.
Overall, symptoms are tied to three main criteria: what type of cancer is it?, where is the cancer located?, and where has the cancer spread? By identifying these three points, the symptoms you may be having can become more clear. If you do happen to have cancer, but are fortunate enough to develop symptoms which bring your attention to the presence of this difficult disease early on, know that these symptoms have a wide-range of possibilities, but here we will discuss the most common:
The acronym CAUTION is often used to remember the seven main symptoms of cancer, which should be quickly brought to the attention of a doctor or professional if you are experiencing one of the following:
The “C” in CAUTION stands for a change in bladder or bowel habits. If these basic disposal functions become irregular, there may something deeper going on with the body.
The “A” represents a non-healing sore throat, (one that persists with no change in pain or discomfort). Constantly feeling a very hoarse or sore throat, is not normal and should be checked out.
The “U” stands for unusual discharge or bleeding. This often greatly depends on the type of cancer, because the location of discharge or bleeding can sometimes correlate with the form of cancer. For example, if you are experiencing strange colored discharge or even blood coming from the nipple of the breasts, this could indicate a potential for breast cancer and needs to urgently be examined by a doctor for further inspection. These are known as nipple secretions, and sometimes even a sore that will not heal and continues to discharge can appear, which is just as serious.
The “T” represents thickening or a lump in some region of the body, (usually this is in the breasts or testicles). If you perform a self exam or happen to notice some strange mass on your body, this could potentially be a tumor and should get examined by a doctor.
The “I” stands for indigestion, most often chronic and recurrent, or experiencing a difficulty swallowing. Difficulty swallowing can sometimes be a symptom of throat cancer. Having a one time difficulty in swallowing isn’t something of grave concern, but if the issue persists, then it may be a more urgent and time-sensitive ordeal.
The “O” means an obvious change in a wart or mole on the skin, whether in color, thickness, size, shape or even texture. All this can signal a problematic mole which could be a possible carrier of skin cancer cells. This is why doctors regularly recommend keeping an eye on moles and warts, and even getting them burned off if they seem to be problematic, even if they are not necessarily cancerous.
Lastly, the “N” represents a nagging cough and/or hoarseness. This criteria is broad and could be a symptom of a mass number of conditions or diseases, but regardless if a cough persists for a long period of time, it should be examined by a professional for further information.
Other symptoms of cancer can exist, including rapid weight loss or loss of appetite, infections that don’t seem to disappear after protocol treatment, low-level fevers that continue to arise repeatedly, a strange or unusual feeling of pain within the bones or throughout the rest of the body that only seem to worsen and ongoing fatigue, vomiting or nausea.
Just try and constantly remember that having one of these symptoms does not necessarily guarantee cancer, for they could be pointing towards something completely different. It is still better to confront a medical health professional about it, for it is better to be safe than sorry.
Conventional Medical Treatments That don’t include Cannabis:
Unlike cannabis treatments which are fairly new, there are quite a number of conventional medical treatments for cancer patients available, and more continue to add onto the list as advancements are being made in our rapidly developing field of medicine. All in all, two categories of treatments are probably the most prevalent, but first a medical practitioner must determine the stage that the cancer is in. As mentioned above, this system of stage classification is primarily beneficial, because it allows doctors to determine what course of action they will be taking during treatment.
For stages 1 and 2, the cancer usually has not spread outside of the point of origin, aside from a few specific cases. If the cancer cells are local within a single region or organ, surgery is used to remove the unhealthy cells, so that they cannot continue to spread and grow at rapid rates. By removing every last cancer cell, there’s nothing left to infect the body and the disease halts there. In some cases, the cancer can return again, either within the same location, or at a different one. If this occurs, the doctor has to devise a new course of action and start over.
By stage 3 and 4, the cancer is already likely much larger and more developed, so it tends to have spread throughout other regions of the body. In these mass scale circumstances, a more complete treatment must be used, known as systemic treatments. You can remember the name by considering what takes place during this course of action, where cancer cells are killed throughout the entire system of the body. The most common forms of systemic treatments, includes chemotherapy and radiation. Other, less used, types of conventional cancer treatments exist as well, including hormone therapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplant, but we won’t be going into detail about these additional methods in this article.
Medical Marijuana and Cancer
Medical marijuana has proven to be immensely beneficial in improving the wellbeing of cancer patients, often assisting those who are reacting adversely to conventional medicine treatments, specifically treatments within the systemic category, such as radiation or chemotherapy. Unlike cannabis treatments, some side effects of radiation and chemotherapy include, lack of appetite, nausea, fatigue and extreme pain throughout the body.
Thankfully, there are medical cannabis strains on the market specifically devised to bring relief to patients experiencing these unpleasant negative side effects, so that they may find peace. Additionally, in recent years, some cannabis studies have been released that have leaned in a direction of the actual cannabis plant itself containing compounds that may be a cure to cancer, and not just as a means of relief from the adverse effects of conventional medications. Who knows, maybe in the future we will not need to rely on challenging conventional cancer treatments anymore, and instead switch to the good cannabis herb, but for now, let’s just exam the research and studies to understand more about the evidence and effects of cannabis:
Studies on Cannabis as a Treatment:
1. Evidence for marijuana’s effectiveness at pain relief:
In a study conducted by Johnson JR, Burnell-Nugent M, Lossignol D, et al. published in J Pain Symptom Manage, the scientific journal, researchers tested the effectiveness of THC:CBD extract versus a placebo at pain relief amongst 177 randomly selected subjects. In the end, their findings concluded, “this study shows that THC:CBD extract of cannabis is efficacious for relief of pain in patients with advanced cancer pain not fully relieved by strong opioids” (Johnson JR, Burnell-Nugent M, Lossignol D, et al.).
2. Evidence for cannabis’ effectiveness at relieving nausea:
Tramér MR, Carroll D, Campbell FA, et al. published a study in BMJ scientific journal, in which they tested the effectiveness of cannabis cannabinoids from the cannabis plant against chemotherapy induced nausea, compared with other traditional medicines, concluding that, “cannabis cannabinoids were more effective antiemetics than prochlorperazine, metoclopramide, chlorpromazine, thiethylperazine, haloperidol, domperidone, or alizapride…” (Tramér MR, Carroll D, Campbell FA, et al.).
3. Evidence for marijuana’s ability to increase appetite amongst disease related anorexia patients:
Dronabinol, a man-made, synthetic form of cannabis used primarily to treat patients experiencing anorexia and loss of appetite, mostly as a symptom of HIV/AIDs, had its effectiveness reviewed and researched in a scientific article published by Beal JE, Olson R, Lefkowitz L, et al. in the journal J Pain Symptom Manage. This team of researchers concludes their findings by stating; “Patients tended toward stable body weight for at least 7 months. Adverse events were primarily related to known central nervous system effects of dronabinol. These data support long-term, safe use of dronabinol for anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS” (Beal JE, Olson R, Lefkowitz L, et al.).
4. Evidence for cannabis’ possible anti-tumor effects:
In a rather ground-breaking and revolutionary study conducted by the National Toxicology Program, rats and mice were observed after being administered varying doses of Cannabis THC and the results showed that, “The incidences of mammary gland fibroadenomas and uterine stromal polyps were decreased in dosed groups of female rats, as were the incidences of pancreatic adenomas, pituitary gland adenomas, and interstitial cell adenomas of the testis in dosed male rats and liver neoplasms in dosed mice” (NTP toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of 1-trans-delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (CAS No. 1972-08-3) in F344 rats and B6C3F1 mice (gavage studies)). This might all seem like a bunch of gibberish, but it essentially just means that these specific types of tumors decreased within the mice and rats over time, after the doses of THC from the cannabis plant were administered.
Although much more research needs to be conducted regarding the capabilities of cannabis as an effective treatment to cure cancer, these studies are an outstanding start towards more progress being made in the medical marijuana field.
5 Best Marijuana Strains for Different Types of Cancer:
1. ACDC Marijuana Strain
About this Cannabis Strain:
ACDC is a highly promising cannabis strain, classified genetically as a hybrid. It descends from the CBD heavy marijuana strain known as Cannatonic, and therefore also contains mass amounts of CBD itself. This cannabis strain allows patients to reap the healing benefits of CBD, which are incredible for numbing down pain, especially the type that can be felt amongst cancer patients after the harsh and tiresome chemotherapy treatments have finished. In addition to featuring an incredibly prominent CBD content, its THC content is quite low, ensuring that few psychoactive or “high-like” effects will be experienced. Instead, this marijuana strain focuses almost completely on assisting and healing the symptoms of patients undergoing serious conventional medical procedures, or those suffering from difficult medical illnesses or conditions.
CBD: 15-25%; THC: 0.5-1.3%.
How this cannabis strain helps: Pain relief from the negative effects of systemic treatments amongst cancer patients.
2. Northern Lights Cannabis Strain
About this Cannabis Strain:
Northern Lights is an indica dominant cannabis strain, bred from the pure land-race parents Afghani indica and Thai sativa. This untainted and popular marijuana strain, although very high in THC and rather low in CBD, offers a relief on a different level. Due to its classic indica tendencies, Northern Lights provides immense nausea relief for those who are suffering from this uncomfortable sensation on a regular basis. Those who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer, often experience massive amounts of nausea as an adverse effect of the medical treatment, so consuming some Northern Lights in the form of cannabis may be helpful in calming down these discomforts.
CBD: unknown, but not high; THC: 16-21%.
How this cannabis strain helps: Nausea relief for cancer patients who have recently undergone chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
3. Granddaddy Purple Cannabis Strain
About this Cannabis Strain:
A relaxing and calming marijuana indica that brings about tiredness and pure serenity, Granddaddy Purple lets you fall asleep fast, first giving you a case of the mad munchies. For those who are suffering from loss of appetite and are concerned about extreme weight loss because of it, Granddaddy Purple serves as a quintessential cannabis strain to keep appetite levels up, especially after they have subsided due to any form of treatment against cancer. Granddaddy Purple is a genetic cross between Big Bud (indica) and Purple Urkle (indica) cannabis strains, making its indica dominance rather prominent. This class of cannabis strains are notorious for making you hungry, followed by couch-lock and falling fast asleep; all a plus if you are recovering from cancer treatment.
CBD: 0.1%; THC: 17-23%.
How this marijuana strain helps: Brings back appetite for those who have suffered appetite loss as a result of cancer treatment, or even extreme weight loss tied to a decreased appetite.
4. Chocolope Cannabis Strain
About This Cannabis Strain:
Chocolope is an energizing and uplifting sativa cannabis strain, that is capable of awakening even the most fatigued of individuals. If you suffer from constant tiredness, specifically as a negative side effects of some form of conventional cancer treatment, Chocolope is exactly what you need to pick you back up and keep you going. Bred by the combination of Cannalope Haze (sativa) and Chocolate Thai (sativa), this double sativa lineage guarantees pure genetics within Chocolope. Many report experiencing a complete euphoria mood enhancing high, that keeps a smile on your face and an overall positive attitude.
CBD: unknown, but low; THC: 18-22%.
How It Helps: Diminishes fatigue amongst tired or worn-out cancer patients, who desire more energy and liveliness in their lives.
5. Charlotte’s Web Cannabis Strain
About this Cannabis Strain:
An extremely low THC sativa cannabis strain that has gained recognition within the medical marijuana community, for its ability to assist a wide range of serious medical conditions, because of its enormous CBD content, with little to no psychoactive or typical “high” producing feelings (it’s the absence of THC, after all). Used primarily by seizure patients as a relief, those who are suffering from cancer can also try out Charlotte’s Web Cannabis Strain, which may bring peace and calm down a grand variety of symptoms, including pain and inflammation.
CBD: 20%; THC: 0.3%-1%.
How this Cannabis Strain: Insanely high in CBD content, brings relief to an onslaught of various cancer symptoms, with little to no psychoactive effects and all the healing powers of the CBD.
Final Thoughts about Cannabis as a Treatment for Cancer and Why Marijuana is so Effective
Although much research still needs to be conducted, studies releasing their results regarding cannabis, primarily all lead in a direction of medical marijuana serving as an adequate form of treatment for patients suffering from a variety of symptoms related to cancer and systemic treatments, such as chemotherapy. The world has far to go to initiate a greater tolerance for medical cannabis within the commercial medical industry, and we hope more evidence will point towards herbal solutions, so one day marijuana can be sold as effectively as any other pharmaceutical.
These cannabis related findings are absolutely steps in the right direction towards a greater tolerance for cannabis related medicines, which expresses just how many healing powers this unearthly plant possesses. We hope you have enjoyed reading this article on cannabis and cancer, and that you not only found it to be entertaining, but also educational and informative. It is important to remember that the consumption of marijuana is the sole responsibility of the user and discretion should be taken before any cannabis consumption.
Cannabis studies Cited:
Beal JE, Olson R, Lefkowitz L, et al. Long-term efficacy and safety of dronabinol for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-associated anorexia. J Pain Symptom Manage. 1997;14(1):7-14.
Johnson JR, Burnell-Nugent M, Lossignol D, et al. Multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of THC:CBD extract and THC extract in patients with intractable cancer-related pain. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2010;39(2):167-179.
National Toxicology Program: NTP toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of 1-trans-delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (CAS No. 1972-08-3) in F344 rats and B6C3F1 mice (gavage studies). Natl Toxicol Program Tech Rep Ser 446 (): 1-317, 1996.
Tramér MR, Carroll D, Campbell FA, et al. Cannabinoids for control of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting: quantitative systematic review. BMJ. 2001;323:16-21.
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