Over 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year. According to the National Cancer Institute, Massachusetts has a slightly higher rate of diagnosis than the national average, with about 474 out of every 100,000 residents affected. While chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery remain the most effective methods of fighting cancer, and have saved or extended countless lives, they can also have debilitating effects on the patient, making the effects of the underlying cancer even more difficult to cope with. If you or someone you love is a cancer patient in Massachusetts, medical marijuana may be able to gently and effectively reduce your pain and nausea while improving you mood, appetite, and ability to sleep restfully.
Serving adult Massachusetts residents throughout the state, Inhale MD is a cutting-edge, Boston-based medical practice providing guided, personalized Cannabis therapy for patients who have been diagnosed with cancer and other chronic or terminal illnesses. If you or one of your family members has received a cancer diagnosis, and is having difficulty coping with the pain, nausea, and other effects of cancer and cancer treatments, medical marijuana may be able to increase your comfort and help you experience a better quality of life.
To talk about how medical Cannabis can alleviate pain and nausea in a confidential consultation, contact Inhale MD at (617) 477-8886. We’re here to help you feel better.
Is it True that Marijuana Cures Cancer?
You may have come across blog posts or online forums that claim Cannabis cures cancer. Unfortunately, this is a major oversimplification. It’s important for cancer patients to understand that Cannabis is not a simple “cure” for cancer, and ideally, should be used in conjunction with radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, medication, and other treatments as directed by your oncologist.
While claiming that “marijuana cures cancer” is an exaggeration, there are grains of medical truth in this statement. Peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated that marijuana’s active ingredients, which are called “cannabinoids,” such as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), appear to have cancer-fighting properties with regard to certain types of tumors. For example, research published in 2009 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation noted that “THC, the main active component of marijuana, induces human glioma cell death.” Glioma refers to tumors arising from glia or glial cells of the brain.
The same effect was also noted by an earlier study, published in 2001 in the Journal of Molecular Medicine. This study found that “cannabinoids induce apoptosis,” or cell death, “of glioma cells in culture and regression of malignant gliomas in vivo.” As the same study further noted, “Breast and prostate cancer cells are also sensitive to cannabinoid-induced antiproliferation.”
The bottom line is that, though marijuana is not necessarily a cure for cancer, THC and other cannabinoids do appear to have demonstrable cancer-fighting properties.
How Does Marijuana Help Cancer Effects?
In addition to fighting cancer directly as the previous section described, marijuana can also help to alleviate the effects of cancer, as well as the effects of associated radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. To summarize succinctly, research has shown that Cannabis can rapidly and effectively reduce or counter:
- Lack of Appetite
In most cases, patients experience mild side-effects which have a very low chance of causing long-term harm. For most people, the worst aspects of Cannabis use are temporary dry mouth and increased drowsiness.
Medical Marijuana to Relieve Pain and Nausea During Chemotherapy
The reason Cannabis relieves pain and nausea, reduces depression and anxiety, and improves appetite and sleep quality is found within your own body: specifically, within the little-known endocannabinoid system (ECS). Though considerably less famous than the digestive system, the cardiovascular system, and the other body systems you studied in high school biology class, the endocannabinoid system is just as crucial for regulating mental and physical functions, including mood, appetite, and pain perception.
To reiterate, Cannabis contains roughly 85 distinct chemical compounds, the best-known of which is THC. But believe it or not, your body also contains its own natural cannabinoids, which are known as endocannabinoids because they are produced inside your body (which is what the prefix “endo-” denotes). Examples of endocannabinoids made by your body include Anandamide (AEA) and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
AEA and other endocannabinoids constantly interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors that make up your body’s endocannabinoid system. During this process, signals are sent to and from your brain, which affects your appetite, mood, and other functions. When you use Cannabis, THC and other cannabinoids interact with these same receptors, thereby altering your mood, increasing your appetite, and changing the way you perceive pain or discomfort.
If you’d like to see some examples of studies on marijuana and cancer, please refer to our library of free medical resources, or simply ask Dr. Tishler about what researchers have discovered.
Boston, MA Medical Marijuana Doctor for Cancer Patients
In 2012, Massachusetts passed legislation legalizing medical marijuana for patients with “qualifying conditions.” Cancer is a qualifying condition, which means that cancer patients age 18 or older may qualify for medical Cannabis after receiving a diagnosis and recommendation from their oncologist.
Our role at Inhale MD, a Boston medical marijuana practice established by Harvard Medical School graduate and Emergency Physician Dr. Jordan Tishler, is to create and oversee marijuana-based cancer care plans that are tailored to each patient’s evolving health needs. We will sit down with you to answer your questions about Cannabis, provide support, and discuss every element of your personalized treatment plan in detail, including the optimal method, size, and frequency of dosing to alleviate your symptoms.
At Inhale MD, we are proud to provide compassionate care for Massachusetts cancer patients driven by the latest Cannabis research. In addition to our office locations in Brookline and Cambridge, we also offer secure and confidential online consultations for patients who are unable to travel. To learn more about how medical marijuana may be able to provide relief from your cancer-related pain and nausea, call Inhale MD at (617) 477-8886 for a consultation with Dr. Tishler.