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Cancer Patients Find Relief Through Medical Marijuana

How Cancer Patients Find Relief Through Medical Marijuana

Modern approaches to treating cancer patients began in the 1980’s with studies about how medical marijuana helps those undergoing chemotherapy. While marijuana should not be mistaken as a cure for cancer, cannabinoids have been shown to play an important part in the management of pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. Today, specific marijuana strains are recommended to thousands of cancer patients in Florida because it is known to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy [1]. If you would like to know if medical marijuana (MMJ) is right for you, schedule an exam with one of our Florida Marijuana Doctors. You may complete our eligibility survey in just 5 minutes to find out if you pre-qualify for a recommendation.

Medical Marijuana For Relief from Nausea

In 2019, there will be an estimated 1,762,450 people diagnosed with cancer in the United States, and that number continues to rise [2]. The most common side effect of cancer treatments is chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). As many as 50% of patients experience CINV, either due to the anticancer drugs or the disease itself. In many cases, standard prescription drugs do not help CINV, and patients taking more than one drug to manage the side effects of chemotherapy experience drug interactions. Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, cannabinoid-based medicines successfully treat CINV and reduce, if not prevent, drug interactions [3].

Medical Marijuana for Pain Relief

Of the many types of pain experienced by cancer patients, one of the most common is nociceptive pain. It is caused by damage to tissues and is characterized by aching, throbbing, or sharp pains in the body. Once these tissues are injured, neurotransmitters in the body are released by immune cells then carried up to the brain by nerves. In response to the damage, the body produces endocannabinoids like the chemicals found in cannabinoids. Endocannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body to regulate pain and inflammation. In 1999, researchers proved the existence of higher levels of cannabinoid receptors in the brain that control nociceptive processing. Therefore, medical marijuana can successfully treat pain resulting from chemotherapy [4].

Medical Marijuana for Appetite Stimulation

Marijuana has been typically known for bringing on “the munchies.” Characters in modern television shows who use cannabis are often shown binging on junk food afterward. While this may seem entertaining, THC is an important chemical to boosting appetite in cancer patients. Hunger is felt when a substance called leptin is produced in the body. THC inhibits the production of leptin and slows the signals that tell the brain when the body is full. Essentially, the brain is tricking the body into feeling hungry, even when it is not [5].

Five Medical Marijuana Strains that Help

  • ACDC, a sativa-dominant strain derived from Cannatonic, contains a high level of CBD. Its few psychoactive effects ensure the patient does not feel high, and many rely on it for pain relief.

(Typical Cannabinoid Profile | CBD: 15-25%; THC: 0.5-1.3%.)

  • Northern Lights is an indica-dominant strain high in THC and low in CBD. It has the main benefit of relieving nausea.

(Typical Cannabinoid Profile |CBD: unknown, but not high; THC: 16-21%.)

  • Grandaddy Purple is an indica-dominant strain that helps patients sleep and keeps appetite levels high. It is derived from a cross between Big Bud and Purple Urkle.

(Typical Cannabinoid Profile | CBD: 0.1%; THC: 17-23%.)

  • Chocolope, a sativa strain, helps to diminish fatigue and provide energy. It is a combination of Cannalope Haze and Chocolate Thai, both of which are sativa strains.

(Typical Cannabinoid Profile | CBD: unknown, but low; THC: 18-22%.)

  • Charlotte’s Web, a sativa strain very low in THC, is used to treat pain and inflammation. It has very little, if any, psychoactive effects.

(Typical Cannabinoid Profile | CBD: 20%; THC: 0.3%-1%) [6].

Is medical marijuana right for me?

If you feel you may benefit from medical marijuana, the first step is to take our eligibility survey. In just 5 minutes, you could pre-qualify for a recommendation. A Florida Marijuana Doctor can then determine if you qualify during an in-person exam. 

  1. https://www.kalapa-clinic.com/en/cannabinoids-therapy-cinv/
  2. https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/cancer-facts-figures-2019.html
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paul_Daeninck/publication/6661707_Cannabinoids_in_the_management_of_intractable_chemotherapy-induced_nausea_and_vomiting_and_cancer-related_pain/links/59ef794fa6fdcce2096dbcc5/Cannabinoids-in-the-management-of-intractable-chemotherapy-induced-nausea-and-vomiting-and-cancer-related-pain.pdf
  4. https://www.cannamd.com/marijuana-and-cancer-pain/
  5. https://www.marijuanabreak.com/best-marijuana-strains-cancer/amp


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