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Cannabis And Chemotherapy — What Are The Patient Benefits?

Cannabis helps to mitigate some of the symptoms associated with chemotherapy while helping the body fight back cancerous cell growth.

Yes, it is possible to combine cannabis with chemo and radiation, but you must speak with your oncologists first before taking this step. Cancer is a life-threatening illness that scares many people; it’s why several works of research and scientific tests on potential medicinal solutions are being conducted.

Many cancer patients get excited when they discover that a particular plant or drug holds the promise of relieving them of chemotherapy’s pain — particularly with cannabis because there have been studies that show the positive impact of cannabis on severe ailments.

The idea here is not that cannabis cures cancer. The discussion here is on combining cannabis with chemo to minimize radiation’s impact on a cancer patient. So let’s discover why it is possible to combine both treatment options.

Cannabis and chemo

During chemotherapy, cancer patients experience a range of unpleasant side effects and symptoms ranging from dizziness to nausea and vomiting. These patients need chemotherapy because it is a powerful treatment that kills the body’s growing cancerous cells, however, these side effects often make it a gruesome experience.

Patients need something that can help them combat those side effects and symptoms so they can go through chemo without feeling extremely sick.

Aside from the fact that cannabis helps to mitigate some of the symptoms associated with chemotherapy, it also plays a supportive role in helping the body fight back cancerous cell growth when they get into chemotherapy and radiation.

Several patients are often concerned about the “method of application” of cannabis when they are in chemo: they wonder if they should smoke it, chew it or consume it via other means. Read on to find out the best method of consumption for patients in chemo.

How to use cannabis while on chemo

Smoking

Well, some oncologists do not want their cancer patients smoking cannabis if the patient has lung cancer or severe lung disease. But some oncologists still prefer that their patients smoke cannabis because the cannabinoids gets into the body and makes it impact on the spot.

RELATED: Here’s How Marijuana Can Kick Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea To The Curb

Interestingly cannabis is a bronchodilator which means rather than constrict the lungs, it expands them, which means it won’t cause any more harm to the patient’s lungs. Nevertheless, if you have an underlying lung issue, you will have to discuss it with your oncologist before taking the smoking pathway.

Vaporization

The vaporizing option enables the patient to inhale the cannabis through a vaporizer heat pot without breathing in the smoke. You don’t burn the weed; you only heat it to a specific temperature, with the heat activating the cannabinoids.

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Patients who do not like to “smoke” cannabis will enjoy this method better as it is a lung-healthy, cost-effective, and very convenient option. One could be using this vaporizing option without others knowing they are taking cannabis (it is a very discreet method).

Sublingually

Chemotherapy patients can also take cannabis sublingually which happens when the medication is absorbed from under the tongue. This subliminal approach is faster with results, but you must ensure you have the correct dosage from your doctor before taking this approach.

Chewing

Cannabis can also be chewed directly in peculiar cases when the patient doesn’t want to smoke or vape. People have been chewing marijuana for centuries as a medicine, so this is not a new idea. Don’t worry; you wouldn’t get high from chewing raw marijuana; you may want to consider eating it in its other forms, such as other edible products, tinctures, and gummies.

Cannabis, chemo, and other cancer treatment

You may feel exhausted when combining cannabis or any other medication with chemotherapy. It can be an overwhelming experience if it isn’t done right. Here are some pointers to help you derive the best from using cannabis:

  • Always start low and go slow: don’t take so much cannabis at the same time.
  • Always consult your doctor or oncologist if you feel like you need to take more or lessen your dosage
  • Avoid using too many products simultaneously: sometimes, you may not get the best out of cannabis because you are taking too much medicine.
  • Cannabis is very safe when used with a doctor’s guidance.

Ask Dr. Green: How Can I Use Marijuana To Deal With Chemotherapy?
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The benefits of cannabis when combined with chemo

Note that the benefits outlined below are based on actual cancer patients experience with cannabis while in chemotherapy:

You wouldn’t feel nauseous or sick

One of the earliest side effects of chemotherapy is feeling nauseous and sick, which is a major discouraging factor for cancer patients. A lot of patients undergoing chemo complain of feeling excessively tired, headaches, high body temperatures and so on. By incorporating cannabis with chemotherapy you can significantly reduce the bulk of these side effects.

RELATED: Cancer And Medical Marijuana: A Patient’s Perspective

It should be noted that most of the patients agree that they had to take cannabis over a certain period instead of a one-time dosage.

Revived appetite

Medical cannabis also boosts the patient’s appetite. A lot of patients in chemo say that they couldn’t eat a lot of meals or feel hungry after the chemo session. When they started taking cannabis, they noticed their appetite returned with an increased craving for food and an urge to snack more. Chemo patients need to eat well to stay strong enough for the treatment and cannabis can help.

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You will feel energized

Another side effect of chemotherapy is exhaustion! Patients feel entirely overwhelmed by the treatment process that they end up shutting down mentally afterward. Fatigue during chemo means they are also vulnerable to mental and physical breakdowns.

RELATED: CBD And Chemo Combo Increases Cancer Survival Rates

But patients who combined cannabis with chemo testify that they felt energized. CBD and THC posess properties that can keep patients alert and active throughout the chemo treatment process.

It fights insomnia

Some chemotherapy patients complain about insomnia during chemo such that no matter how they force themselves to sleep, they just can’t. Since chemo patients are given steroids beforehand to help with the side effects, the majority also experience insomnia.

Combining cannabis can help patients feel well-rested throughout the day, thus making it easier to sleep.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.

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