March 19, 2022
2 Mins read
Cannabis and Cancer Therapies Guide
Today, there is still no proven cure for cancer, a horrific disease that has impacted the lives of most of us in one way or another. While we continue searching for a cure, some well-evidenced treatment methods can help alleviate symptoms from chemotherapy, radiation, and the disease itself. Let’s dive into more detail about cannabis and cancer.
Though the effectiveness of cannabis is still being researched, studies in the past have shown that a combination of phytocannabinoids and cannabis terpenes can help ease side effects of cancer treatment and provide some level of comfort to those suffering from pain, inflammation, loss of appetite, and other symptoms.
Chemo and other traditional cancer treatments kill both cancerous and healthy cells, which causes residual health issues. While research is still being conducted, cannabis products, particularly Rick Simpson Oil (which we’ll get into a bit later), help protect healthy cells while fighting the cancerous ones.
This article will dive into how cannabis patients can potentially benefit from cannabis as a treatment method and some essential things to consider.
Please note that, while promising, the research is not definitive on using cannabis to ease the symptoms of cancer or related treatments. We are not recommending cannabis as a perfect solution but believe it has the potential to help those who are seeking pain relief, increased appetite, and other forms of relief.
Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments can cause nausea and vomiting in many patients. Cannabis, in some cases, has been shown to be an effective treatment for nausea, particularly when CBD and THC work in conjunction with each other. When using cannabis to relieve nausea, the plant itself isn’t calming the digestive tract but instead controlling and reducing the signals sent to the brain through receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
Pain and Inflammation Relief
Cancer is a brutal disease that can cause excruciating pain in some patients, depending on the type and stage. While some types of cancer do not cause physical pain, bone cancer and skin cancer can cause unbearable symptoms and intense discomfort.
Research shows that cannabis may help relieve the pain caused by cancer. There is evidence that the two main phytocannabinoids found in cannabis, CBD and THC, both have pain-relieving properties and can help reduce pain signals and ease inflammation.
In particular, skin cancer and throat cancer may cause painful inflammation, but there is hope that cannabis may ease the inflammation. For example, patients with throat cancer may be unable to inhale from joints or vaporizers. Tinctures like City Trees’ Blue Agave are a great alternative for inflammation relief because they’re easy to take orally under the tongue or to add to food or a drink like a smoothie. They can also be used as a replacement for traditional sweeteners that are packed with sugar. Whether you choose to mix your tincture in a drink or take it by itself, you should hold each sip/dose in your mouth for at least 20-30 seconds to ensure that you fully absorb the phytocannabinoids.
As previously mentioned, chemotherapy can cause severe nausea and vomiting, which can lead to a loss of appetite and weight loss. Cannabis has been shown to be an effective appetite stimulant, giving it the potential to curb weight loss associated with cancer treatment.
Evidence suggests that consuming cannabis will trigger a surge of ghrelin, a hormone released when our stomachs are empty that signals the brain to look for food. This is so important because cannabis can potentially empower patients to get the proper nutrients they need to combat their illness.
Those who choose more traditional cancer treatment methods may develop peripheral neuropathy, a form of nerve damage that can cause extremely uncomfortable sensations in the nerve endings.
Many people have found cannabis to be a particularly helpful form of treatment for the pain and numbness associated with peripheral neuropathy.
CBD and its strong anti-inflammatory properties specifically target inflammation in nerve endings, which is why it can be so helpful in relieving pain within the nerve endings.
Those previously suffering have reported having experienced strong pain relief after committing to a daily routine of a high dosed, full-spectrum CBD. Many people have reported the strongest symptom relief has come from a daily dose of 50 MG of CBD.
What to Expect when Using Medical Cannabis
Cancer therapies and symptoms can vary from person to person, so it’s essential to remember that cannabis may not be effective in every case. As always, we highly recommend speaking with your doctor about cannabis as a potential tool and how it may interact with your existing medications.
Depending on your situation, you may also find that certain forms of consumption are more effective than others. In the following section, we’ve laid out a few options that you have available to you when choosing medical cannabis products.
Although vaporizing cannabis flower is a better choice than more traditional forms of smoking cannabis, inhalation can potentially irritate the throat and lungs. This consumption method should be avoided in favor of ingestible and other smokeless forms of cannabis for certain cancer patients. Below, we’ve outlined some of the forms and types of products to consider.
Infused Drinks and Edibles
As previously mentioned, infusing tinctures into food and drinks is an excellent way to get the benefits of cannabis without the harshness of smoking or vaping. This is also an excellent method if you require a precise dose, as you can easily measure out specific mg amounts using a tincture bottle dropper.
RSO is one of the best cannabis products to use for cancer therapy and is excellent to pair with food, but it can be a bit more tricky to measure out than tinctures because of its thick, molasses-like consistency. We recommend using topping your favorite dried fruits or candy with a dose and putting them in the freezer. After three hours, throw them in a ziplock bag, leave them in a freezer, and you’ve got a delicious (and soothing) snack anytime you need it!
There are endless options for the various dishes and drinks you can create, making this a versatile and potentially delicious way to medicate. Consuming a tincture sublingually will provide the fastest benefits. Still, if you’re not in a rush and have an appetite, it can be a rather soothing experience to cook and enjoy an infused meal.
Topicals, Patches, and Balms
Cancer and some cancer therapies can damage the skin by causing dryness, rash, and itchiness. Surgeries and changes in the activity level of a cancer patient can also trigger skin problems.
Transdermal cannabis topicals, patches, and balms may be an effective remedy for pain associated with these issues. For best results, lightly apply the lotion and creams on your skin to get relief at the surface and deeper muscle levels. Using these lotions on your skin may also help you relax and get better quality sleep.
Mary’s Medicinals is an excellent brand we carry at Oasis that is extremely effective for radiation burn and relieving pain from inflamed nerves. Their Freeze Salve in particular is great for shingles and sunburns, and they offer a unique variety of phytocannabinoid options. We recommend checking them out through our menu if you’re seeking transdermal relief for inflamed areas on the skin. Head to the link and plug “Mary’s Medicinals” into the search bar to see their full selection. 🙂
Oral sprays offer a quicker onset of effects than edibles without consuming added calories and sugars. If your appetite isn’t there or if you’re feeling nauseous, this may be a better option than trying to add tinctures to your food or drinks.
Capsules are taken orally and are an effective alternative for patients who want to control their dosage. This smokeless consumption method may be better suited for cancer patients who wish to avoid inhalation and its associated inflammation. Capsules are also an effective alternative if you don’t have enough appetite to eat an infused meal or drink a cannabis-infused beverage.
The Bottom Line
More research is needed for definitive conclusions, but there is good evidence to suggest that cannabis can be an excellent tool for those battling cancer and dealing with the side effects of certain treatment methods. In addition to its potential and pain-relieving properties, cannabis can also help to elevate your mood at critical moments and help you prepare for difficult and uncertain circumstances.
We encourage you to talk with your doctor and conduct your own research to determine if cannabis is right for you and something that can help you fight your most challenging battle.