By: Kimberly Calderon
Chemotherapy is a commonly known cancer treatment used throughout the world to help kill rapidly growing cancer cells, but what do cancer patients do to deal with the side effects that come with the painful treatment? Does the use of Medical Cannabis help to make the side effects a bit more manageable?
Chemotherapy is a commonly known process, but what is not easily talked about are the side effects of chemotherapy. Although chemotherapy is effective in many cases, common side effects from this grueling treatment are fatigue, pain, anxiety, nausea, and more that affect the patient’s recovery process and recovery time. Over time, a common medication being used more frequently by cancer patients is the use of Medical Cannabis to help alleviate some of the symptoms that come with chemotherapy. According to the American Cancer Society, “Several small studies of smoked marijuana found that it can help treat nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy”, and “A few studies have found that inhaled (smoked or vaporized) marijuana can be a helpful treatment of neuropathic pain (pain caused by damaged nerves).” (American Cancer Association 2020). Leading to more cancer patients discussing the option of Medical Cannabis with their physicians to see if it is an option for them that could make a difference in how they manage the side effects of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is a process that takes an emotional and physical toll on patients and loved ones, resulting in the experimentation of different methods of dealing with pain, such as cannabis with the approval of their physician. The use of Medical Cannabis may not work for all, but for some, it has allowed a bit of reprieve from their daily symptoms as they fight their battle against cancer.
Image 1: Nye, Jessica. “Few Patients with Cancer Discuss Use of Cannabidiol Products with Their Healthcare Providers.” Oncology Nurse Advisor, 14 July 2021, https://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/home/cancer-types/general-oncology/cancer-cannabidiol-products-few-patients-discuss-healthcare-treatment/.
Image 2: Halim, Shakera. “How to Deal with the Medical Cannabis Dilemma.” Health Europa, 25 Jan. 2019, https://www.healtheuropa.eu/medical-cannabis-dilemma/89960/.
Quotes: “Marijuana and Cancer.” American Cancer Society, https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/complementary-and-integrative-medicine/marijuana-and-cancer.html#written_by.
Image 3: Weiss MC, Hibbs JE, Buckley ME, et al. A Coala-T-Cannabis Survey Study of breast cancer patient’s use of cannabis before, during, and after treatment. Cancer. 2022. 128(1):160-168. Published online October 12, 2021.