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Medical marijuana is used widely as a treatment for cancer and its ravaging effects on the body. Anyone who has ever suffered from cancer or loved someone who has knows how devastating this disease can truly be. As if being sick wasn’t bad enough, recovering from treatment can prove to be even worse.

Chemotherapy has long been used as a treatment for cancer. And while it’s shown to work, it often makes patients extremely sick in the process. Many medical marijuana patients begin as one’s seeking relief from chemo’s common side effects that often include:

  • Muscle Pain
  • Stomach Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Nerve Pain
  • Appetite Loss

Medical marijuana has proven time and time again to help ease these and other symptoms associated with chemotherapy. In fact, medical marijuana has been found to be one of the best treatments to help patients through the dark days following treatment for cancer.

Take Jeanette Bockland, a nurse from Florida who was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, radiation therapy, and breast reconstructive surgery in November 2013. According to Bockland chemotherapy left her “weak and nauseas and horribly depressed for days afterwards.” She went on to explain that there were “no words to adequately describe the discomfort and despair” she felt during this time.

And then a friend offered her some medical marijuana from Colorado and everything changed. Like many medical marijuana patients that use cannabis for chemotherapy relief, Bockland chose to consume her medicine in the edible form and what she found drastically changed her life.

How Medical Marijuana is Benefiting Chemotherapy Patients

Cannabis has been described by many medical marijuana patients as “a miracle.” This was certainly the case for Bockland who found medical marijuana took away her nausea and stimulated her appetite so she could begin again to eat healthy foods. It also helped to decrease the intense restlessness she felt during chemo treatment and helped her to find ways to relax.

Bockland says that the medical marijuana she consumed during chemo didn’t make her “high” but rather like a “halfway normal” person. One that was able to eat and sleep. A person that could actually get up and face the day rather than dwell in darkness.  Bockland believes that medical marijuana saved her life.

And she’s not the only one. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, Doris Clay turned to medical marijuana for relief of the severe nerve pain treatment with chemotherapy gave her. The sensation of pins and needles running from her feet to her face left her desperate for relief. She chose to vaporize the medical marijuana she purchased from a local dispensary in her home state of Connecticut and found that she’d finally found something that worked, claiming that medical marijuana didn’t make her “feel like dying.”

The stories of people who have benefited from medical marijuana while undergoing chemotherapy are countless and increasingly on the rise. Research shows (and many doctors and scientists agree) that medical marijuana could be one of the most effective ways of helping those undergoing chemotherapy get the extended relief they need…and the new lease on life they deserve.

Research on Medical Marijuana and Chemotherapy

The studies of medical marijuanas effects on chemotherapy are extensive and date back for decades. In 1988, Francis L Young, former Administrative Law Judge for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said in a ruling that “marijuana has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States for nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy treatments in some cancer patients.”

Since then there have been numerous different studies to back these claims. In 2006 Cancer Monthly, an online cancer treatment website, put out an e-newsletter entitled “Medical Marijuana: The FDA Loses More Credibility” that discussed the advantages of using medical marijuana for pain relief during chemotherapy. This article stated: “There are literally hundreds of articles that appear in the peer reviewed medical and scientific literature that discuss marijuana’s effects in pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation…compared to the risks of a typical chemotherapy agent.”

There have been several scientific studies that highlight the positive effects of medical marijuana on chemotherapy. Results gathered from over three decades of research consistently conclude that cannabis is the “cure” for uncomfortable and painful symptoms of chemotherapy. Their findings show that medical marijuana is responsible for reducing pain and vomiting and nausea, while helping to stimulate appetite and prevent wasting syndrome.

In 1997 the British Medical Association found marijuana more effective than Marinol, the synthetic version of medical marijuana. The United Patient’s Group, a well-known source for information on alternative medicine backed this up when they stated in March 2015 that the “intake of cannabinoids from medical marijuana during episodes of nausea can also effectively relieve symptoms” and that “inhaled medical marijuana achieves superior results over synthetic alternatives.”

 

There is no doubt that medical marijuana is one of the most unique and exceptional natural healing compounds known to man. Its legalization for use as medicine in Canada and 23 US states allows for a litany of further research to ensue, where we’ll undoubtedly one day see medical marijuana prescribed freely by doctors worldwide to help in the struggle to effectively treat the painful side effects of treatments like chemotherapy.

 

Works Cited

http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000137

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanette-bokland/medical-marijuana-helped-me_b_6029754.html

http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/how-cancer-treated/chemotherapy/side-effects-chemotherapy

https://www.fredhutch.org/en/news/center-news/2015/07/medical-marijuana-gains-favor-among-cancer-patients.html

http://www.safeaccessnow.org/cancer_booklet