There has been a lot of talk, and a lot of misinformation about the use of cannabis, and/or “medical marijuana,” for cancer patients. Let us start off by saying flat out, there is no truth whatsoever to any rumor or “report” that you may have heard that says cannabis can cure cancer. However, that does not mean that it is not useful for cancer patients.
In fact, it can help alleviate many of the more distressing symptoms of the disease, particularly for victims of breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer, and it is most often diagnosed in women and a small number of men. While any cancer diagnosis is naturally alarming, it’s important to know that many forms of breast cancer are treatable. As with any cancer, early diagnosis is the best way to facilitate effective treatment and recovery.
Unfortunately, the current first-line treatments for breast cancer—which include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery—often entail some degree of discomfort. Whether it’s post-surgical pain, nausea, loss of appetite spurred by chemo, or other symptoms, it’s likely there will be some unpleasant sensations associated with treatment and recovery.
Thankfully, cannabis is coming into increasing use as a safe, gentle, and effective remedy for many of these concerns. Here are some of its main uses specifically for breast cancer:
Pain Relief – Numerous studies support the use of cannabis for pain management. Both THC and CBD—the major cannabinoids or “active ingredients” in cannabis—help to address and alleviate pain – without the drawbacks of opioids.
Nausea and Loss of Appetite – Whether they’re associated with cancer or caused by its treatment, nausea and vomiting are among the most unpleasant and debilitating effects of cancer, affecting about 50% of people with the disease. Cannabis has been prescribed for nausea and gastric distress by alternative medicine practitioners for centuries. In addition to having mild anti-emetic qualities, the sedation and euphoria associated with THC, can be an effective counterbalance to queasiness.
Cancer treatment also often cause a loss of appetite. Because cannabis is an appetite stimulant—yes, the “munchies” are a real thing—it’s an effective way for cancer patients to keep up their vital strength and body weight.
General Quality of Life – One very important (but often overlooked) factor in recovery is a cancer patient’s overall quality of life. Whether you enjoy THC’s pleasant psycho-activity (the “high”) or prefer CBD’s non-psychoactive antidepressant and antianxiety qualities, the use of cannabis can improve the experience of cancer treatment and help offset its more unpleasant side effects.