Cancer is a horrible disease. It can strike anywhere in the body, spread, and have a devastating impact. Treatments like chemotherapy and radiation help to kill cancerous cells to stop the spread of the disease. These treatments, however, often come with undesirable side effects like nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Studies show that cannabis can be an effective tool for easing symptoms and improving the quality of life for patients. Here’s what you need to know about cannabis and cancer.
How Cannabis Can Help Cancer Patients
Several studies show that cannabis can be effective in managing cancer symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments, including
- Pain. The cannabinoids in cannabis bind with receptors in the endocannabinoid system to help reduce pain. They can also help to fight inflammation.
- Neuropathy. Cannabis can help provide relief from neuropathy (nerve damage), which is a common side effect of cancer treatment.
- Nausea and vomiting. One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is nausea, which may also lead to vomiting. These effects can make it difficult for patients to eat or drink. Cannabis can be an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting, and can also act as an appetite stimulant.
Some studies are also finding that cannabis consumption may be able to slow or even stop the growth of certain types of cancer cells.
Choosing Your Delivery Method
There are a variety of delivery methods that you can use when it comes to using cannabis for cancer:
- Flowers. Flowers can be smoked or vaped. They can also be used to infuse butter or oil to make homemade edibles.
- Concentrates. Concentrates are incredibly potent cannabis products. They can have purity levels of between 50% to 95% THC.
- Edibles. Edibles are cannabis-infused foods and beverages. They provide a good alternative to those who can’t (or don’t want to) smoke or vape.
- Tinctures. Tinctures are liquid products that involve dissolving the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other desirable compounds into a solvent. Traditionally, users take tinctures sublingually, but you can also add them to foods or drinks. They provide another alternative to inhalation. They can also be beneficial for patients who are finding it difficult to eat.
- Topicals. Topicals are cannabis-infused creams, balms, and lotions. They are applied topically to provide targeted pain relief. Since you don’t have to ingest or inhale them, there’s no risk of getting high.
Dosing Cannabis for Cancer
When it comes to dosing cannabis for cancer, it’s necessary to understand that the different delivery methods produce different effects. Inhaling, whether from a joint or a vape pen, provides almost instant relief. Tinctures that are taken under the tongue work quickly as well. Edibles, on the other hand, take 90 minutes or more to take effect. They do, however, provide longer-lasting relief as they stay in the system longer.
Regardless of the delivery method, start with small doses. When smoking or vaping, start with one or two puffs and wait about 20 to 30 minutes. If you don’t feel anything, try another couple of puffs. With edibles, you should wait at least 90 minutes to two hours after trying your first dose before taking another one. You can use topicals as needed, as they can’t get you high.
Cannabis can be an effective tool for managing the side effects of cancer treatments. If you’re interested in using it, be sure to speak with your physician.