Breast cancer affects both men and women, but it is far more common in women. It accounts for 15.2% of all new cancer diagnosis in the United States. With the statistics looking so grim, there is a need to explore all possible therapies, including medical marijuana, to help manage the disease. Medical marijuana is a relatively new kind of treatment. Most of it hasn’t gone through clinical trials, and it is mostly, used as a dietary supplement. Conventional cancer treatment methods, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, induce nausea and vomiting. Cannabinoids have proven the ability to alleviate both of these symptoms, among other things.
Cannabinoids and Cancer
Marijuana has over a hundred cannabinoids, but the dominant ones are delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The two are the best understood of them all and research is being conducted in other cannabinoids.
THC and CBD have different effects on the body. Where THC gives the user a mind high causing them to experience euphoria, it also helps to relieve pain, and it has antiemetic properties. With these characteristics, THC can be used by cancer patients as a pain reliever.
If a patient experiences cancer-induced seizures, they can use CBD to help manage symptoms. Cancer is a serious disease whose diagnosis causes anxiety and sometimes paranoia. Many patients get depressed due to the physical, mental, emotional and financial strain of fighting cancer. CBD can help reduce stress and depression, enabling the patients to remain calm.
Defeating depression in a cancer patient is vital to the success of treatment because comorbidity between the two makes a recovery much more difficult. In case a patient used THC for nausea or pain, and they experience unwanted mind alteration, they can use CBD to reverse the effects and return to soberness.
Some research findings that are still at the preclinical level have indicated that CBD could help inhibit the growth of tumors. Such an ability if proven in clinical trials, would contribute immensely to the reversal of the progress of cancer.
Some strains of marijuana have high THC, while others have high CBD, but it is difficult to say which of the strains is the best marijuana for breast cancer. It is noteworthy, however, that CBD helps alleviate more symptoms than THC.
Cannabinoids and Breast Cancer
According to research THC, CBD and other cannabinoids have demonstrated the ability to stymie the progress of tumors in breast cancer. Cannabinoids reduce such progression by connecting with the cannabinoid receptors in the cancer cells.
There are also other ways that these cannabinoids prevent the growth of tumors without the involvement of receptors. By working on cell signalling pathways that facilitate the growth of cancer, cell pathways prevent tumors in breast from metastasizing. They can also help avert tumour necrosis, mainly when you apply sprayable marijuana for breast cancer regularly.
Animal breast cancer models used in the research indicate that cannabinoids are useful in both estrogen receptor and estrogen resistant breast cancers. No similar tests have been done on human subjects, but there is a good chance that cannabinoids may work the same way in humans.
The optimism is based on the fact that cannabinoids interact in the same way in humans and the animals used in trials. Therefore, we can try medical marijuana for breast cancer treatment.
Important Things to Consider Before Trying Medical Marijuana
When used in humans, marijuana products are dietary supplements; they are not supposed to replace your medication but to be taken alongside the medicine.
Oncologists should approve medical marijuana for breast cancer patients. Make sure you inform them if you are thinking of using medical marijuana so that they can advise on its compatibility with the drugs you are taking. Your oncologist may not have medical marijuana for breast cancer treatment stocks, but they are likely to know a clinic that supplies high-quality products.
It is also vital to bear in mind that medical marijuana doses are not standardized yet. Your oncologist may advise you on how to take them, but they are not sure how much is best for you.
Usually, establishing a dosage requires you to start with small doses and work your way up, gradually increasing the dosage until you reach a dosage that gives you optimum returns.
What to Expect When Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Breast Cancer
Medical marijuana has some side effects you should expect when using it. In some people, CBD may cause drowsiness which might make it challenging to drive and operate machinery. In its more severe forms, this drowsiness can cause you only to want to sleep.
Another common effect of medical marijuana is dryness of the mouth. In the early stages of use, cannabinoids inhibit the sublingual salivary glands keeping them from producing saliva which produces up to 80% of your saliva. This problem, however, disappears with time.
One more thing you can expect is to pay for medical marijuana products out of pocket. Except for a few FDA approved products, insurance companies do not cater for medical marijuana since it is still at experimental stages.