How Medical Marijuana Helps With the Symptoms Of Lung Cancer
Several small research studies found the biologically active components in marijuana, called cannabinoids, are effective in managing symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatments such as pain, nausea, and anxiety. It can also improve appetite and sleep quality.
For patients living with an aggressive, debilitating cancer such as mesothelioma, marijuana could significantly improve their quality of life.
“While our members reflect a diverse list of medical conditions, what they have in common is that cannabis either can treat them or is treating them,” Steph Sherer, founder and executive director of Americans For Safe Access
Studies show THC has a number of medical benefits that may be advantageous to patients with terminal cancer.
- Pain relief
- The ability to prevent nausea and vomiting (common to patients undergoing chemotherapy)
- Acting as a sleep aid and an appetite supplement
“We’re working every session with legislatures to expand [CBD] laws to make them closer to the medical cannabis laws we see in other states,” Sherer said. “Behind every medical cannabis law there are very brave patients that take time out of their schedule to meet with legislatures, to draft legislation, to talk to the media and really create an environment where legislation can move forward.”
How to Medicate
Patients with mesothelioma or lung cancer usually have weak lungs and experience trouble breathing. For these patients, consuming edible marijuana is preferable to smoking it to avoid any aggravation of lung tissues.
When marijuana is inhaled, the effects are felt almost immediately. When eaten, the medicine takes longer to take effect because of the digestive process. This can take from 20 minutes to an hour. However, many patients find that the psychoactive effects of edible marijuana are milder and the body relief is stronger. This is sometimes more effective for cancer patients who seek relief from physical symptoms. The effects also last longer.
Edible medical marijuana comes in a variety of types. For patients who are watching calories, fat or sugar, there are alternatives to heavy baked goods.
Tinctures are placed under the tongue for an amount of time and then swallowed. According to some patients, the effect of this medicine is less sedating than edibles made with cannabis butter, and the medicine is absorbed more quickly.
Cannabis capsules usually contain a mix of cannabis and other oils, or other oils infused with cannabis. Patients take these like they would any other pill.
Other edibles include hard candies, cold drinks and teas. It is important to follow dosing instructions carefully and not to overeat cannabis edibles.
Marijuana For Cancer An Accepted Medication
Medical marijuana registration data collected by ProCon.org shows an estimated 1.2 million people in the U.S. were legally using medical cannabis as of March 1, 2016.
“Everyone in this country knows someone or knows someone who knows someone that cannabis has really benefitted,” Sherer said. “I think the nation is watching what’s happening while these patients have access to this medication.”