For those who are unfamiliar with the uses of medical marijuana, cancer is still likely to be the number one thing they think of when the topic comes up. “Medical pot… that’s for people with cancer, right?”
(Looking for a quick rundown of the biggest health benefits of marijuana?)
But how does marijuana help chemo patients? Does it do anything to the cancer cells themselves? Is it only about people’s nausea? Here are 9 ways that cannabis changes the lives of those going through chemotherapy — and we think you might be surprised.
A day doesnt go by where I dont see a cancer patient who has nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain, depression and insomnia, says Dr. Donald Abrams at San Francisco General Hospital. Marijuana, he says, is the only anti-nausea medicine that increases appetite.
At the time, I thought I was handling my diagnosis and everything pretty well,” says Anne Johnson, age 56, and diagnosed with stage III colorectal cancer. “Well, [an old friend] brought this over, and I had about three hits off of the joint; all of a sudden the pain was gone, the nausea was gone. I felt the anxiety going away. Anxiety that I didnt even know that I had. Everything was really kinda OK. I was feeling like how a normal person should.
“I learned that cannabis could also truly help with pain, anxiety, and insomnia,” says BoingBoing writer and breast cancer survivor Xeni Jardin. “The doses to help calm my brain activity and replace fear with a gentle, high comfort were lower still–and candies or herb that contained more cannabidiol (CBD) than Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cut through the anxiety without the high at all.”
“At first I was like, you’re shitting me,” [Roger Chalmers] recalls. “So one day, I came in for an eye pressure reading and he took me home to his house for a quick lunch and we smoked. When I went there, the pressures in my eyes were 11 and 13. When he took the pressures after, they were like three and five. I was like, wow, that’ll save my sight. So I started using marijuana right there.”
People are realizing that even when patients do well in terms of survival, theres a lot of suffering along the way that needs to be addressed, says Dr. David Casarett, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvanias Perelman School of Medicine. For many patients, [marijuana] is an opportunity to take control over their disease and symptom management when they can’t get the relief they need from the health care system.
“It didn’t get me “high;” it made me feel halfway normal (as opposed to the prescriptions, which left me feeling drugged and weak),” says Jeanette Bokland. “It gave me the strength to continue with chemotherapy when I had reached a point where I really couldn’t tolerate it anymore.”
The results [of beginning a marijuana regimen] were immediate and profound: [Joseph Casias‘] pain decreased dramatically, the new medicine did not induce nausea and Joseph regained his appetite and was able to gain back some of the weight he had lost during chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“I asked my doctor for a prescription for Marijuana, and he agreed. But it takes 2 weeks to get the license here (Israel). In the meantime I got some from a friend. I rolled and smoked the smallest joint for myself,” says reddit user JustCallMeAtom. “Immediately after my first few puffs, I felt a change in my self. No stomach ache… No nausea. Huge boost of energy. In fact, I told my wife that I’d like to go out for dinner, that I was craving a hamburger.”
” Cannabis oil killed all of the tumors in my body. My monthly lab and quarterly scan results are proof that the cannabis oil treatment worked, [Stefanie LaRue] says. Her doctor, who had previously been skeptical, now credits these alternative treatments as the reason for her speedy recovery.”
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