Cannabis Can Help Treat Cancer Symptoms

by

Cancer is one of the main causes of death among people worldwide. Fortunately, there is a marked improvement in survival rates for several types of cancer due to dramatic advances in cancer treatment and cancer screening.

Further, a growing body of evidence suggests that cannabis may play a significant role in treating cancer symptoms.

Cancer

Cancer describes a collection of diseases characterized by the growth of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably. These unusual cells are capable of invading and damaging healthy body tissues. Cancer has the potential to grow and expand throughout your body.

Some types of cancer cause cells to grow at a fast rate, while other types of cancer cause slow cell growth.

Symptoms associated with cancer include unexplained weight loss or weight gain, changes in bowel habits, unexplained bruising or bleeding, difficulty swallowing, chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, darkening or yellowing of the skin, and hoarseness.

Changes to the genetic material (DNA) within body cells lead to cancer. The genetic material DNA is packaged into genes that carry instructions telling your cells how to grow and divide. Faults in the instructions can impair the normal functioning of the cells and cause them to become cancerous.  Risk factors that can increase your chances of getting cancer include your age, family history, certain health conditions, lifestyle choices, and environment. Chronic conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, can notably raise your risk of developing cancers.

Recent research has shown that cannabis can mitigate symptoms associated with cancer, enhancing the quality of life for people with cancer.

Given below are some of the ways cannabis can help treat cancer symptoms.

Alleviates Pain

Chronic or acute pain is one of the symptoms related to cancer. The pain which may be caused by the tumor putting pressure on parts of the body. Cancer pain may also be a side effect of some chemotherapy medications.

Cannabis can provide relief from pain. According to a review published in Annals of Palliative Medicine, THC and CBD were effective in relieving pain during cancer treatment. Further, cannabis has been found to be equally effective as opioids at alleviating pain without exposing individuals to the same addiction potential and risks.

Stimulates Appetite

People suffering from cancer experience loss of appetite that can be caused by radiation, metabolic changes, cancer, and other anti-cancer treatment. Research has shown that cannabis – especially THC-rich products – can stimulate appetite due to how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) interacts with and control feeding behavior.

Moreover, according to a study conducted by the University of Alberta, the ability of cannabis to promote appetite may be due to its ability to enhance the sensory appeal of foods. Researchers involved in the study segregated cancer patients with poor appetite into a placebo group and a group that was treated with a synthetic form of THC. About 64% of subjects in the THC group reported an increase in appetite and 73% reported increased appreciation of food, while 50% of the placebo group reported a decrease in appetite.

Reduces Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are also one of the symptoms of cancer. Traditional antiemetic medication is found to be ineffective because cancer patients suffering from nausea tend to vomit up the medicine before it can take effect.

Studies have shown that cannabis can be an effective alternative for treating nausea and vomiting. A review published in BMJ examined the results of 30 studies comparing the effects of cannabinoids with conventional antiemetics or placebo. Investigators found that cannabis was more effective at treating nausea and vomiting than traditional antiemetics. However, cannabis was not more effective in people who were receiving very high or low emetogenic chemotherapy.