Cancer is currently one of the leading cause of death in the world. About 30% of people in the US will develop cancer at some point. While two-thirds of these people will eventually succumb to the disease, there are those who will fight tooth and nail to survive. They go through a series of chemotherapy treatments to kill off the cancerous cells and take countless medications. These medications do not come without their fair share of side effects. Chemotherapy while effective at shrinking cancerous cells can cause extreme nausea, tiredness, and the feeling of being sick. The treatment often makes the patient sicker than they were before starting the treatment. Let’s not even talk about the hair loss. Medical marijuana has been proven to help alleviate these symptoms in cancer patients. Some of the ways it helps are listed below:
It helps to suppress nausea
It suppresses vomiting
It Increases appetite
It helps to relief Pain
It works wonders in calming anxiety
Of course, many people will argue that there are several medications that can help treat these symptoms but the advantage that medical marijuana has over all of them is that it treats all of these symptoms at once. The patient does not need to take several drugs to relieve themselves of these symptoms. Medical marijuana is also natural and not a chemical extract so the patient can be sure they are not compounding the situation with the drugs that are supposed to be helping. Marinol is a synthetic THC which helps to relieve patients from nausea and vomiting. However, the majority of patients that have taken this drug and also taken medical marijuana say that they prefer the use of medical marijuana as it has a broader symptom relieve and the effects last longer.
There is a series of events leading to vomiting. A signal is sent to the brain’s vomiting center through paths such as the throat (gagging), inner ear (motion issue), stomach nerves, through higher thought centers (e.g. memory, fear) and so on. Nausea, on the other hand, is not fully understood as scientists have yet to discover what triggers it exactly. As it is hard to know the cause, it is also extremely difficult to make the symptoms go away.
With chemotherapy-induced nausea, it makes perfect sense to want to go for a solution that is not pill based. A patient may not be able to keep an oral medication down enough for it to work. That’s the beauty of the medical marijuana, however. It can be turned into oils, mixed with edibles or smoked and the effects will still be the same. So if a patient starts vomiting profusely and cannot keep anything down, they might consider other extracts.
Apart from nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, patients also experience loss of appetite and weight loss. More than half of cancer patients develop a condition called cachexia which is characterized by a significant loss of lean body tissue. If the condition gets worse, patients might have to be fed using tubes or hooked to IVs. Medical marijuana has however been shown to greatly improve appetite.
The take–home point is that medical marijuana is effective at helping relieve numerous symptoms at once. It has a long–lasting effect and it is completely natural. Also, if traditional medications are not effective for singular problems, marijuana may be a great backup for relief.