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Medical marijuana gives hope to people living with cancer because it can help prevent cancer cells to spread. According to the researchers at the Rostock University Medical Centre Germany, cannabis could stop the spread of cancer cells because of its ability to block blood supply to tumors, leading to their death.
This new finding was a result of a review of over 100 studies. The scientists believe that the active compounds in the plant—the phytocannabinoids—can stimulate the human body systems that work by keeping the normal function of the immune system, endocrine, and brain.
Previous studies have also shown that cannabis can reduce chemo-associated side effects including pain, appetite loss, nausea, and vomiting. In the following, let’s discuss more about how cannabis is giving breast cancer sufferers a new hope in terms of reducing these symptoms.
Appetite Stimulant: Medical Cannabis
Appetite loss and wasting are common among cancer patients, resulting to their poor life quality. These symptoms also hasten their death at worst. And another bad news, cancer can also lead to cachexia, a condition characterized by lean body tissue loss that affects up to 80 percent of cancer patients, especially those who are in the final stages of the disease. What stimulates this wasting process is the cytokines, a type of protein produced by the immune system as its response to the cancer tumors.
Marijuana can help. According to the Breast Cancer Organization, there is anecdotal evidence showing that medical marijuana may help in appetite stimulation, aside from relieving the pain, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and anxiety associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Medical cannabis may help in stimulating the appetite among cancer patients, according to a number of studies, especially THC-rich strains and products because they can promote appetite. It is due to how the body’s endocannabinoid system interacts with it and control behavior related to feeding.
This claim is backed by researchers from the University of Alberta. They found that medical marijuana does so effectively due to its ability in heightening food’s sensory aspects. This finding was a result of a study where 64 percent of the participants with THC had an increase in appetite while 73 percent of them noted of food appreciation.
Cannabis and Chemotherapy
When combined, CBD and THC can work against tumor growth, according to Dr. Christine Sanchez, a microbiologist that was first to discover cannabis’s anti-tumor effects. The expert from the Compultense University said that the results they’re getting are indicative that the cannabinoid compound CBD may be effective in breast cancer treatment.
CBD, aside from not having psychoactive effects, can also interfere with tumor’s cellular communication. It can also help in instigating programmed cancer cell death or apoptosis.
According to California Pacific Medical Center researchers, CBD may also help in shutting down cellular growth receptors. In addition, CBD-based medicines are effective, focusing on specific tumor cells, yet they do not affect healthy or non-tumor cells.
In this case, it can be told that CBD-based cancer medicines may even be better than chemotherapy that targets everything.
Reducing Nausea and Pain
Nausea is a disruptive symptom associated with cancer. It is why antiemetic medicines become less effective because patients tend to vomit them up before their effects can set in.
Medical cannabis may be a great alternative to treat cancer symptom, based on a complete review in BMJ where scientists and researchers analyzed the findings of studies. They compared the effects of medical marijuana with traditional antiemetic and placebo. The investigators discovered that MMJ was more effective compared to traditional antiemetic medicines when it comes to treating cancer symptoms, but with an exception of those who received high or low emetogenic chemotherapy treatments.
Studies also showed that marijuana can reduce pain, another symptom experienced by those living with cancer. It works similar to opioids to help in effectively alleviating pain.
Medical cannabis does not only prevent cells from spreading, but it also alleviates cancer and chemo-induced symptoms. As more patients are looking into using a holistic approach regarding the treatment of cancer symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea, and pain, medical marijuana may be one the solutions out there. It may also be effective when combined with traditional treatment approaches. However, more research and studies must definitely be done on this matter to determine whether or not MMJ can help in breast cancer treatment.