Cancer and Medical Cannabis


Medical Cannabis as Part of a Cancer Treatment Plan

For many patients, cannabis use helps to alleviate the discomfort caused by cancer-related symptoms.

There are many different forms of cancer. Because cancer can take so many forms, treating the disease is rather difficult. In recent years, using cannabis to alleviate cancer symptoms has become a popular issue. CITIVA has years of experience in this area and is researching medicinal cannabis treatment programs to treat the various cancer symptoms.

In recent years, using cannabis to alleviate cancer symptoms has become a popular issue. Some of the most debilitating symptoms caused by cancer and its treatment are neuropathy (nerve pain), nausea, spasticity and disruption of sleep. These symptoms also seem to be the ones that cannabis is most effective in treating. (http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/510392/). Besides the crucial benefit of easing discomfort, patients whose symptoms are under control tend to adhere more closely to the prescribed treatment thus improving outcomes.

Though still early, recent laboratory studies suggest that CBD and THC (two dominant cannabinoids) can play an important role in the destruction of cancer cells. It is suspected by some in the oncology community that certain cannabinoids may help induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Apoptosis occurs when the body recognizes the cancer cells and destroys them. It is hypothesized that this is facilitated by the centrality of the endocannabinoid system in regulating homeostasis and communication between cells. The endocannabinoid system is particularly active in the immune system. By facilitating endocannabinoid system function, it is thought, certain cannabinoids may help the immune system identify cancerous cells and attack them.In November 2014, a clinical study showed promise in the treatment of high-grade glioma cancer cells. A high-grade glioma is a highly aggressive form of cancer. The study showed that cannabinoids prevent the growth of glioma. It also neutralizes oncogenic processes like angiogenesis. The study goes further to explain the difference between the benefits of isolated THC versus whole plant usage. The study showed that the effectiveness of cannabis’s ability to kill cancer cells depends on the length of treatment and the dosage. Whole plant cannabis contains more THC than lab-grade THC.

While studies of the effects of cannabinoids on cancerous tumors are still in the earliest stages, it is known that cannabis has eased the suffering of countless cancer patients, if thousands of personal testimonials are to be believed. As a form of adjunct treatment to radiation and chemotherapy, patients can achieve drastic symptom relief. Since cannabinoid medicine is, by and large, the least toxic form of cancer treatment, CITIVA suggests discussing its inclusion in a cancer treatment regimen with your doctor.

Understanding Cancer

The abnormal growth of cells that begin to divide rapidly is a trait associated with every form of cancer. When enough of these cells are grouped together, it forms a tumor. Because these cells grow at a tremendous rate, they can easily attack other tissues causing health problems and, in the worst cases, death. The cancerous cells, with the help of the lymphatic system, can travel through the bloodstream to other areas of the body if not contained. No part of the body is immune, and cancer can manifest itself in the form of hundreds of different diseases. These diseases are named for the locations in the body where the tumor forms.

Though medical science has made tremendous breakthroughs in treating cancer and improving prognoses, among the most nagging problems facing oncologists is easing the debilitating symptoms that the disease and its treatments can cause. Extreme nausea, neuropathic pain, spasticity (muscle spasms), depression, and disruption of sleep remain among the most treatment-resistant symptoms among cancer patients through standard pharmacopeia.

General Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

Patients may notice any of these early symptoms of cancer; however, during its initial stages, cancer symptoms may not be noticeable. Instead, symptoms become evident as cancer progresses. It is important to see a doctor as soon as any symptoms appear. Early diagnosis makes it easier to treat the disease. Symptoms of cancer can include:

            • Itching (pruritus)
            • Pain
            • Trouble with swallowing or indigestion
            • Skin changes
            • Unexplained weight loss
            • Excessive hair growth
            • White spots or patches on the inside of your mouth
            • Unusual discharge or bleeding
            • Recent changes in the size or appearance of a mole or wart
            • Hyperpigmentation
            • Jaundiced eyes and skin
            • Reddened skin (erythema)
            • Changes in normal bowel or bladder functioning
            • Recurring cough or hoarseness
            • Lumps or thickening of areas of the body
            • Sores that take a long time to heal

Having these symptoms does not confirm that you have cancer. However, if you experience any of them, you should consult your physician immediately.

Shaping the Future of Cannabinoid Medicine
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