You’ve probably heard about the medicinal benefits of marijuana in the treatment of cancer. Cancer patients and doctors say that marijuana helps fight nausea and makes chemotherapy a more bearable experience.
But a new article in the Journal of the American Cancer Society shows that one-quarter of patients are now using marijuana to make themselves more comfortable and to manage their symptoms.
State Legalization Paves Way to Health
Currently, eight states and the District of Columbia have laws that allow recreational marijuana and more than half of all states allow it for medicinal uses. The study showed that the legalization has paved the way for cancer patients to utilize this useful plant to help them regain their health. As more states legalize the drug, and as more studies are published showing the benefits, it’s clear that more sick people will seek the benefits of marijuana.
The study in the Journal surveyed 92 patients at the Seattle Cancer Alliance. 74% of those surveyed asked for more information about marijuana during their treatment. 66% of the patients had used marijuana in the past. The patients used marijuana during their treatment to help reduce pain and nausea, along with coping with stress, depression, and insomnia.
The American Cancer Society suggests that smoking marijuana can help with treating nausea and vomiting symptoms. It can also lessen the pain from damaged nerves. In clinical trials, giving patients marijuana extracts helped lessen the amount of traditional pain medication they needed.
The National Cancer Institute appears to agree, however, they are careful to point out that the possession of marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Cancercare.org states that marijuana has the following benefits for cancer sufferers:
- Marijuana has a similar effect as opioids on pain relief but lacks the dangerous addictive mechanism that has created a real crisis in the United States.
- Marijuana decreases the feeling of nausea and vomiting that frequently occurs with chemotherapy.
- Marijuana helps relieve the joint, muscle, and nerve pain that comes with neuropathy. It helps eliminate the burning, numbness, and tingling that occurs from chemotherapy.
- Early trials seem to show that marijuana use can actually slow down the growth of certain types of tumors. Certainly more studies need to be done in this area.
Studies Stymied by Marijuana Laws
Part of the reason why more research needs completed is that marijuana has been tagged as an illegal drug for so long. While states are working to legalize for medicinal use, the federal government still classifies marijuana as an illegal narcotic. This has all slowed down some of the studies that would conclusively prove that marijuana is a beneficial plant for cancer patients. Still, enough research has been done, with more going on all the time, that 29 states now allow medicinal marijuana as part of a standard treatment component in the fight against cancer.
If you’ve been diagnosed with this terrible disease, talk with your doctor, or research the laws in your state to determine if medical marijuana is an option for you. You can also click here to download a free white paper to learn more about the issue.