Chemotherapy is a conventional medical treatment for most of the cancer cases. Besides surgery, radiation therapy, and medicines, in the majority of conditions, a patient with cancer has to undergo this chemical drug therapy. Its impact is strong enough to wipe out the growing cancer cells in the body. It can also reduce the size of the tumor and minimize the chance of spreading to other organs. An oncologist can diagnose the right treatment depending on the stage or type of the condition.
Be sure to read our scientific review of the ability for cannabis to fight cancer.
Since the influence of chemo is heavy on the body to kill the rapidly growing cells, it consequently affects other cells like hair, blood, skin, etc. These lead to some common side effects:
- Hair Loss
- Loss of Appetite
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Weight Loss
- Allergies and Infections
Patients look for a solution to treat and overcome these effects, and many of them end up using cannabis. As the taboo around this medicinal plant is blurring away, people are finding it as a convenient natural method to treat several health concerns. The purpose of this article is to understand how cannabis can work as a healing herb to all these symptoms accompanying chemotherapy. Here are a few benefits of using cannabis during chemotherapy.
1) Inhibit Pain Induced by Chemotherapy
Cannabis can help treat the pain caused due to damage to nerves during the chemo process. The cannabidiol or CBD, the second most dominant cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, has analgesic effects to help reduce the chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. Due to nerve injury and inflammation, the pain becomes irresistible. The standard medicines suggested for these include anti-epileptics, like pregabalin, or other tricyclic antidepressants. Some patients experiencing rigorous pain start depending upon opioid painkillers. These again come along with side effects of addiction or overdose, which can worsen the patient’s condition.
CBD binds with the CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the human body to offer pain-relieving benefits by reducing inflammation. Studies and clinical trials show that cannabis can be a potential treatment for pain.
2) Stimulates Appetite
During and after cancer treatments, patients might go through a phase of appetite loss. Chemotherapies can affect the cells in the lining of your intestinal tract. The effect on the digestive system, including mouth, throat, and stomach makes it difficult for you to consume food normally. Your stomach becomes sensitive and quickly full. Also, the patient is under a strict diet during chemotherapy and the inability to eat well results in loss of weight. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of cannabis, can lead you to crave for munchies. It can stimulate appetite by encouraging the feeding hormones. The chemical reaction between THC and the brain receptors increases the sense of smell and taste. Dronabinol (FDA approved drug) containing THC can facilitate in treating loss of appetite.
Another way to stimulate your appetite is to use cannabis or marijuana seeds that are a great enhancer of digestive health. Sprinkle some of it in your salad or oatmeal and enjoy your food. An additional benefit of these seeds is that the insoluble fiber in it can help the food to move effortlessly through the digestive tract allowing healthy elimination. It resolves the problem of constipation, which is a side effect of chemotherapy.
3) Treat Hair Loss
Another problematic area of concern is hair loss. The change in physical appearances gives the patient psychological discomfort that harms their mental health. It affects 65% of patients taking chemotherapy. CBD, as a therapeutic treatment, can help recover hair loss among patients. Topically applying cannabis oil on hair and scalp can help stimulate hair growth. CBD oil is a good source of Omega-3, and Omega-6 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin E. With all the nutritional ingredients beneficial for hair growth, there cannot be any doubt on the efficiency of cannabis oil. There are studies to support the claim, where PTH-CBD, a parathyroid hormone targeting collagen, can help treat chemotherapy-induced alopecia disorders. The administration of PTH-CBD therapy, along with chemo, can show successful results.
Apart from hair loss, the patient also witnesses skin changes, allergies, and infections after chemotherapy. Apart from hair loss, the patient also witnesses skin changes, allergies, and infections after chemotherapy. Cannabis oil can promote skin health and hence that resolve allergy or similar issues.
4) Treat Nausea
Nausea and vomiting is a common side effect during chemotherapy. Cannabis or marijuana can help treat both. The THC and CBD components interact with the ECS receptors CB1 and CB2 to suppress vomiting. The British Journal of Pharmacology published a paper that emphasizes the point that changes in the ECS lead to regulation in nausea and vomiting in humans as well as animals. The antiemetic and anti-nausea effects of cannabinoids by activating the ECS receptors helps treat the side effect positively. If you are looking for a cure to nausea, make sure you pick an online dispensary Canada that abides by all regulations of selling.
5) Address Insomnia Problems
Cannabis is a viable sleeping aid. It has shown significant results of inducing sleep due to its relaxing properties. Consumption of the herb in any form can make you feel drowsy. For a number of cancer patients, peaceful sleep is a challenge they fail to overcome at times. The reason behind this is an increase in anxiety after chemotherapy. Research on rodents found that CBD can help induce deeper sleep in rats having anxiety troubles. You can try using CBD oil as aromatherapy to calm you down and let you fall asleep.
Indeed, cannabis is a beneficial herb for these and many other cancer symptoms. But do keep in mind to consume it responsibly. You can find cannabis products in the form of edibles, dried leaves, oils, creams, and tinctures. Inform your oncologist about the desire to give this natural treatment a try. Also, do your research extensively before picking your option between THC and CBD or both. The individual metabolism differs, and the way this herb benefits people also differs.