Posted on Aug 01, 2019, 12 p.m.
Cannabis products hold ample promise for people fighting cancer, but there are also some concerns and risks involved. When sifting through all the information, it can be a confusing and heavy decision. Which products, if any, are worth considering? The following information will help you get started, but it should by no means replace the advice of your doctor.
Knowledge Is Power
Any time you’re sorting through information relating to your health, it’s important to have all the data available to make a sound decision.
In the course of studying your options, you might stumble onto some new words or phrases relating to your considerations. With that in mind, a little research can assist you if you come to any unfamiliar terminology relating to your condition, and online guides to common terms and phrases can walk you through any new jargon associated with the manufacture, selection, and use of related products.
What Drugs Are There?
When it comes to cannabis-related drugs, there are a few primary options many cancer patients consider adding to their treatment program: medical marijuana, cannabidiol, and Marinol. Each option has its own share of benefits and drawbacks, and it’s important to weigh them very carefully in light of your circumstances.
According to Roswell Park, medical marijuana offers a few potential benefits to cancer patients. Some patients report it can alleviate nausea, vomiting, and pain. As a result, it can help to encourage better nutrition. On the other hand, it can impair coordination, reducing the ability to drive or operate heavy machinery. It is not recommended to be used in conjunction with certain drugs with sedating effects, and it can be a costly addition to cancer treatment. There is no clinical evidence at this time that it has a positive effect on human cancer cells.
Medical marijuana is available in several forms; for instance, there are edibles, vape solutions, cigarette-style inhalants, and tinctures that can be taken under the tongue. In most places, you will need a prescription to get medical marijuana.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is commonly available as an over-the-counter supplement. CBD is an organic compound derived from cannabis. People purchase it in a variety of forms, such as gummies, oils, and lotions. As Verywell Health explains, CBD contains little or no THC. THC is the compound in marijuana that creates a high sensation, but when paired with CBD, the CBD inhibits THC from making you high.
CBD could help cancer patients feel less anxious, reduce symptoms of depression, and alleviate pain. It also might help lower your blood pressure. There are some potential negative side effects from CBD, as it can contribute to feeling nauseous, dizzy, drowsy, anxious, and moody.
Does Natural Mean Safe?
There is a general impression that because something comes from nature, it must be safe, but that isn’t necessarily so. For example, rhubarb is a plant you can grow in your garden, and while the stems are nutritious and delicious, the leaves are poisonous. Along those same lines, the American Cancer Society explains there are many supplements which can be termed “natural,” but unless there is testing to prove they are safe, they could pose problems.
FDA-approved medications are reviewed by the agency to assess risk potential, but supplements are not subjected to the same scrutiny and should be approached with caution. In a nutshell, drugs are considered unsafe until they meet approval, while supplements are automatically assumed safe unless they prove otherwise.
Medical and Legal Restrictions
As mentioned, before you add any new supplements, drugs, or therapies to your regimen, be sure to talk with your doctor. There is a potential for side effects and interactions with your treatment program, and you want to help and not harm your situation. When weighing your options, also be sure to review what is legal where you live. All states have their own laws pertaining to cannabis products, so it’s important to learn about any local restrictions.
When it comes to cannabis, there is still some gray areas. So, ensure that you put your health first in all your health care strategies. In the end, only you can decide what is right for you.
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