Medical Marijuana and Cancer

There are many well-meaning people out there who don’t understand the true medicinal value of marijuana and dealing with the unpleasant side effects of cancer treatments. They are dubious at best and think it is just an excuse to get high.

Helping to muddy the waters are the many claims floating around about how medical marijuana can help fight cancer. While the studies so far have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in reducing cancer treatment side effects, they do not show that they help control or cure the disease.

Medical Marijuana is not a new thing. There is historical record of marijuana being used to treat medical conditions going back for thousands of years. Ancient Indian and Chinese texts dating back 3,000 years describe using marijuana to treat everything from constipation, gout, malaria, absent-mindedness, and depression to insomnia, vomiting, and coughs. Herbalists in the middle ages used it topically to help muscle and joint pain. By the 1800s marijuana extracts were sold in the US and Europe for use as sedatives, pain relievers, and to help appetite and sexual problems.

Even as early as the turn of the 20th century people were becoming aware that the way in which the extracts were prepared made a difference on their effects. This unpredictability continues to be a challenge for the medical marijuana community today.

Medical science is catching up. A number of small studies of smoked marijuana found that it can be helpful in treating nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy. And, certain cannabinoid drugs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to relieve nausea and vomiting and increase appetite in people with cancer and AIDS.

In 1997, the US Government authorized an in-depth study of marijuana and its potential health benefits. The full report issued in 1999, in part found that cannabinoids, particularly THC, have some potential to relieve pain, control nausea and vomiting and stimulate appetite. Worth noting is that same study stated important risk factors found in smoking marijuana.

The acceptance and scientific proof of medical marijuana benefits for cancer patents continues to grow.

Source: The American Cancer Society website