There's No Cure for Cancer but Cannabis Can Help with Chemo | cannabisMD

There’s No Cure for Cancer but Cannabis Can Help with Chemo

Cannabis for Chemotherapy Symptoms

According to statistics an estimation up to 1,735,350 new cases of cancer was diagnosed in the United States. Cancer is considered the leading cause of death in the world because no cure has been developed. However, there is a procedure that can help fight and kill cancer cells.

Chemotherapy is the best-known treatment for cancer patients, but what exactly is chemotherapy? In this article, we will discuss cancer and treatment options. We will also discuss how cannabis gained popularity partially due to its effect on cancer patients.

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is known as a malignant tumor or an abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells in a part of the body. There are many types of cancer such as:

  • Lung cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Multiple Myeloma (bone marrow cancer)
  • Brain cancer
  • Melanoma (skin cancer)
  • Cervical cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Any many more

Cells in our bodies have a key role in the body. As old cells deteriorate, a new cell will take their place. In cancer, a new cell has developed but it keeps on growing. This can lead to abnormalities in the body. This cancer cell can spread throughout your bloodstream and tissues. It means that when it spreads, cancer can occur in other parts of the body.

Risk Factors or Causes of Cancer

It is sometimes hard to determine why cancer develops. There are a lot of types of cancer. It is medically understood that common risk factors are:

  1. Hereditary (genetic) factors
  2. Environmental factors
  3. Lifestyle

These are risk factors that make some more likely to develop cancer or specific type of cancer than others. When it comes to lifestyle, we have more control than genetics and environment. If you avoid these factors, experts say it may lower your risk of developing cancer:

  • Exposure to chemical or toxic compound-Tobacco, Nickel, benzene, asbestos and other chemicals that are carcinogenic and may trigger cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure without SPF protection
  • Other forms of radiation
  • Some parasitic, viral and bacterial infections, such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV) leading to cervical cancer
  • Ecological factors such as exposure to pollution, tobacco smoke, radiation and UV rays
  • Unhealthy diet, like eating unprocessed food, and a significant amount of beef and pork

Once you have been diagnosed with cancer, certain risk factors affect the progression of your cancer cells. These factors include:

  • Age
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Infectious agents
  • Obesity

These risk factors can speed up the progression of cancer. Some cannot be avoided, such as age, while others like chronic inflammation or hormonal imbalance may be medically addressed.

Symptoms of Cancer

There are a range of cancer symptoms. It varies by type. Symptoms may present but does not automatically mean that you have a malignant tumor. Your symptoms could be from another condition. It is ideal to know your family history and be conscious with your health. If you notice consistent symptoms, talk to your physician or a medical professional. Some possible symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • A lump that can be felt on your skin
  • Changes in the color of your skin
  • Visible skin redness
  • Wounds that do not heal
  • Constipation that lasts for a few days or weeks
  • Persistent indigestion, or discomfort after eating
  • Unexplained bleeding and bruising

Some signs and symptoms may not be visible. Talk to your physician about your risks for cancer and lifestyle changes you can make to lessen your risks.

Types of Cancer Treatment

There is currently no set cure for cancer, but there is treatment to remove cancer cells and eliminate the progression of the cancer cells in the body. These treatments will vary by the cancer type and cancer stage.

Some people with cancer will have to undergo one treatment while another will need a combination of treatments. Possible treatments that cancer patients undergo include:

  • Surgery is used for the removal of cancer tumors from the body
  • Radiation Therapy is the usage of high amounts of radiation to kill the cancer cells in your body.
  • Immunotherapy is used to strengthen your immune system to fight against the cancer
  • Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for cancer. Chemo refers to drugs that kill cancer cells and prevent cancer cells from spreading. Unfortunately, this treatment can give you severe side effects because, beyond the cancer cells, it also targets your healthy cells. Chemotherapy would been undergone for varying periods depending on the type and stage of cancer. The drug for chemotherapy can be given orally or intravenously.

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can kill cancer cells but it also affects your healthy cells. When it damages your healthy cells, the following may occur:

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite wherein you cannot taste the foods that you are eating
  • Hair loss
  • More prone to infection
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Anemia( lower count of red blood cells)
  • Weight changes
  • Mood changes
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Hearing impairment
  • Restlessness or lack of energy, especially after the chemotherapy session

With all the common side effects, it might also affect the person’s emotional state. When the patient is feeling down or depressed, they may need some counseling.

How Does Cannabis Help with Chemotherapy?

Cannabis has recently gained popularity for its therapeutic benefits. Cannabis is a genus that includes three subspecies: Cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis is full of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. The two most famous cannabinoids are THC (Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive.

Cancer research is ongoing, at places like the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and other cancer centers, but there is currently no cure. Cannabis has been prescribed by some doctors to fight the side effects of chemotherapy. Cannabis is able to treat nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite induced by chemotherapy.

Mammals all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), run by endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are like our own naturally made version of THC. The ECS assures bodily homeostasis when in balance. Most humans, particularly those who are ill, are not in balance.

There are two primary cannabinoid receptors in our ECS: CB1 and CB2. CB1 is found in the central nervous system. CB2 is in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells. Cannabinoids come from the cannabis plant but, to avoid legal restrictions, scientists have created a genetically engineered version of THC and CBD.

When cannabinoids bind, our body’s biological functions such as metabolism, immune response, skin health, pain sensation, inflammation, etc. improve.
Cannabis is able to counteract the side effects of chemotherapy, particularly nausea and vomiting, because of its antiemetic effect.

It is able to address lack of appetite because it acts as an anorexigenic and lessens pain and depression that may decrease eating. Cancer treatment, specifically chemotherapy, has severe side effects. There are many studies on the pros and cons of chemotherapy.

Although cancer has no cure, there are still ways to prolong your life. Keep in mind there are still many cancer survivors who underwent treatment. Clinical data on the health benefits of cannabis in cancer patients is minimal. The effectiveness of cannabis in treating chemotherapy side effects has been well-demonstrated, but we still await further clinical trials.

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