Marijuana has come to find several medical and non-medical uses in recent times and in several places in the world. While it is yet to gain universal acceptance because of its tendency to cause addiction, it has gained significant approval in many states and countries of the world, including Canada, Germany, Thailand, and the United States, but not without strict regulations.
The uses of marijuana can be classified into two broad groups: medical use which involves its use in treatment and control of medical conditions, and non-medical recreational use. The medical use of marijuana is generally permissible in those countries where marijuana is legal but recreational use is grossly subject to restrictions by the regulations, with only a few places where this is freely allowed.
Oncology is one aspect of medical care where medical marijuana has found some usefulness. Oncology is the aspect of medicine concerned with the care and treatment of cancer cases. This post will x-ray some surprising roles of medical marijuana in oncology.
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Brief Understanding of Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana, like recreational marijuana, is a derivative of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Cannabis produces a wide range of biologically active chemical compounds generally known as cannabinoids, the most prominent being Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The recreational effect of marijuana, marked by a euphoric psychoactive experience, is attributed to the THC component of marijuana, while the medical effects are produced by the CBD component. Thus, medical marijuana is one where the THC component has been totally removed, and it has shown several medical uses, including the treatment of cancer.
Medical Uses of Marijuana in Cancer Care
Medical marijuana has shown valuable usefulness in cancer care and is a potential cure for some cancers. Here are some of the uses of medical marijuana in oncology.
1. Management of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
Studies and experimentationsTherapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids – NCBI Bookshelf have shown that medical marijuana given orally can be used to treat nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Cancer chemotherapy is known to be associated with serious side effects, including, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, skin hyperpigmentation, and infertility. Medical marijuana can be used to manage nausea and vomiting as a consequence of cancer chemotherapy.
2. Pain management
Pain may be associated with certain cancers. Medical marijuana has also been found to be useful in the management of chronic pain, especially where conventional analgesics like NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may not be very indicated. They may also be used as adjuncts with other potent analgesics like opioids, even though they are less potent than opioids in the management of pain.
3. A potential cure for cancer
Asides from the symptomatic management of the trifecta of nausea, vomiting, and pain, a study carried out has shown that cannabinoids effectively exterminated cancer cells in the controlled environment of the lab. While these studies are preliminary, and evidence yet insufficient, medical marijuana has the potential to become curative in cancer care.
Currently, while studies have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in treating cancer, there is no sufficient evidence that they can cure the disease. Thus, relying on medical marijuana alone as a treatment for cancer while avoiding or delaying conventional cancer treatment may have serious health consequences.
While we await more evidence in this light, medical marijuana still shows promise of being used in the treatment of cancer in the future. Just of note, an unverified lung cancer patient reported a noticeable alleviation of symptoms after integrating CBD oil into his treatment regimen.
4. Appetite and Malnutrition
Cancer itself is a hypermetabolic disease that uses up all the body’s proteins and energy stores. The release of cancer-induced cytokines also results in wasting or cachexia. This is often confounded by the loss of appetite which can also be induced by cancer and/or its treatment.
Medical marijuana has shown usefulness in boosting the appetite of cancer patients to help them replenish their energy and protein stores until they are eventually treated and declared free of cancer.[/ref]Marijuana as Medicine? – NCBI Bookshelf[/ref]
Regulations Regarding Medical Marijuana
As previously noted, the use of marijuana including medical marijuana is under strict regulations in many countries where marijuana is legal. I am sure the reasons for this are pretty obvious. Medical and recreational uses of marijuana can easily be abused if care is not taken. Hence, the legislation to control who gets access to, or legally distributes marijuana products.
For example, in Texas US, possessing a Texas Medical Marijuana Card allows individuals with certain medical conditions to get a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get medical marijuana legally. Obtaining this card demands an understanding of Texas’ specific qualifying conditions, fulfilling all relevant medical documentation, and carefully filling out a comprehensive application form.
Risks and Side Effects of Medical Marijuana
Side effects are common for most drugs and medications. Some side effects of medical marijuana can range from relatively benign effects like a dry mouth to more severe issues like dizziness or even hallucinations. It is therefore important to know of these side effects before embarking on a medical marijuana journey. Your healthcare provider would also provide you with the information and much more to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of all possible impacts and risks of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana has some applications in cancer management. It also has the potential as a curative option for cancers, even though there is not enough evidence to support this yet. Some states and countries of the world have legalized marijuana use, either recreational type or medical marijuana. Medical marijuana use requires a doctor’s prescription, which can only be given after certification that the patient would require a medical marijuana prescription. While the process of getting such certification can be tedious, it is also important to know the side effects of medical marijuana before embarking on the medical marijuana journey.
I am a medical doctor, a seasoned writer and passionate blogger. Thanks to many years of trials, failure, and near successes. I am the founder of Knowseeker and our content are geared towards enlightening and making you a better and happier audience.