Here’s how medical marijuana can help breast cancer patients manage symptoms like pain, nausea, and stress.
Breastcancer.org has released some shocking stats on the prevalence of breast cancer in the USA. Here are some of them…
- There are 3.1 million women with breast cancer in the USA.
- Nearly 12% of U.S. women are likely to develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. For the man in the US, it is about 1 in 883.
- The risk of breast cancer nearly gets double if a woman has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, and daughter) being diagnosed with breast cancer.
According to Cancer.net, breast cancer is the second most common cause of death, after lung cancer.
Breast cancer, as the name implies, develops in the breast. It happens when cells in the breast grow out of control. Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels.
There are many types of breast cancer depending on the specific breast cells that are affected. Some of them are treated using certain medications while others require specialized treatment.
Can Marijuana Be Useful in Breast Cancer Treatment?
First of all, marijuana is not a treatment for breast cancer. It just helps the patients manage symptoms like pain, nausea, anxiety, hot flashes, and vomiting.
However, there are many studies found that marijuana can be a potential cure. Some of them are given below.
- The most significant study came in 2007 when Dr. Sean McAllister proved that CBD (a cannabis compound) can block the ID-1 gene that is responsible for the production of cells.
- A 2012 study established that marijuana’s receptors like CB1 and CB2 can inhibit the production of a tumor without harming the healthy cells.
How Medical Marijuana Can Ease Breast Cancer Symptoms
Medical marijuana is an effective treatment for easing the pain. Thanks to analgesic properties.
Loss of appetite is common among cancer patients, leading to an eating disorder like anorexia. Here marijuana can help.
Cannabinoids found in marijuana can stimulate hunger-promoting neurons, thereby helping cancer patients feel like eating.
Easing the Chemotherapy’s Side Effects like Nausea and Pain:
After undergoing chemotherapy, a cancer patient is likely to experience nausea, dizziness, and tiredness. Marijuana can ease such side effects resulting from chemotherapy or other cancer treatments, according to Cancer.org. Dronabinol and Nabilone are two marijuana cannabinoids which are approved by the USA for treating vomiting and nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy.
Easing Depression, Anxiety and Sleep Disorders:
A cancer patient is highly vulnerable to insomnia and depression due to lifelong pain and side effects of the treatment. The fear of death among the patients is traumatizing, causing stress and sleep problems. It boosts the production of endocannabinoids in the brain which in turn affects the emotions and behavior of a person.
What to Consider Before Opting for Medical Marijuana for Breast Cancer?
There are many things to consider before using medical marijuana for breast cancer.
- First of first, always consult your doctor before seeking any alternative treatment or therapy other than prescribed one.
- Medical marijuana can be expensive as it’s not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance.
- Choose the strain with a higher percentage of CBD for easing the pain while THC is better for controlling nausea.
- Always buy from a medical dispensary that specializes in selling medical strains as well as providing consultation. Prefer the one who works with cancer patients.
- Make sure to check how their products are grown; how they are handled for avoiding spoilage and contamination and if the products are tested for fungus and bacteria.
- Always check your employer’s medical marijuana policy as disciplinary action can be taken for using medical marijuana.
What to Expect from Medical Marijuana
Well, there are several pieces of research showing the positives of marijuana in the treatment of breast cancer. However, most of the work is limited to pre-clinical trials that mainly involve cell cultures. It is really important to consult your physician for any kind of treatments.
It has to be understood or identified which part of the population suffering from breast cancer will react most positively to the cannabinoids treatment. Unless this is achieved oncologists would be just unwilling to prescribe the drug.