Cancer describes a collection of related diseases that can occur nearly anywhere in the body. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide uncontrollably and spread into surrounding tissues, sometimes forming tumors which can travel to other parts of the body. Recently, smaller studies have been conducted using medical marijuana as an alternative to cancer treatment, showing that the use of medical marijuana may have antitumor effects and kill cancer cells.
Although science is not there yet, medical marijuana has proved incredibly successful in combating cancer’s side effects, which have a great impact on a patient’s quality of life. The most common cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation, come with side effects such as nausea and vomiting —just a few of the side effects that medical cannabis has been known to alleviate. Neuropathic pain, caused by damaged nerves, is another side effect that cancer patients relieve when using medical marijuana.
Beyond the physical effects of managing cancer, medical marijuana has helped patients with the struggle of mental side effects, such as depression and anxiety. In 2014, a poll conducted by MedScape and WebMD found that more than 75% of US physicians think that medical marijuana provides real therapeutic benefits to cancer patients, and of those polled, 82% of oncologists believed that medical marijuana should be offered as a treatment option to patients.
Dr. Donald Abrams, Chief of Hematology-Oncology at San Francisco General hospital stated in an interview with Newsweek (on medical marijuana):
“I could write six different prescriptions, all of which may interact with each other or the chemotherapy that the patient has been prescribed. Or I could just recommend trying one medicine.”
The information provided should not be used as a substitution for physician knowledge. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment with medicinal marijuana.