For people living with lung cancer, the situation can seem hopeless. Lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths in America. One in four patients diagnosed with cancer will have lung cancer. Many patients find themselves drawn to alternative therapies in the hopes of alleviating their symptoms, improving conventional treatments, and removing the cancer altogether. Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, has quickly become the most popular alternative option for treating lung cancer. This is mainly because of studies showing that medical cannabis oil is very beneficial in relieving the symptoms associated with lung cancer as well as relieving the negative side effects of chemotherapy and other pharmaceutical medications. Perhaps most importantly, medical researchers have shown that compounds in cannabis can induce cellular death in cancers through a process known as apoptosis. So not only does cannabis play a large role in alleviating negative symptoms and side effects, the effects of the cannabis plant are also providing hope of remission for lung cancer patients worldwide.
The main symptoms of lung cancer are those that, naturally, affect the lungs. These can include chest pain, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and chronic coughing. If the cancer spreads from the lungs to other body parts it can lead to other issues such as jaundice, enlarged lymph nodes, joint pain or bone pain, and even issues of mobility. Perhaps the most common symptoms that lung cancer patients share with all cancer patients are chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and significant weight loss. Additionally, many lung cancer patients suffer from mental health issues like anxiety and depression. It’s no surprise that having a serious and potentially deadly diagnosis, such as lung cancer, will have a negative effect on a person’s mental and emotional well-being.
When a patient is diagnosed with lung cancer, their physician’s conventional treatment plan will typically include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of the three. If the cancer is detected early enough, then most doctors will advise surgery to remove the cancerous tissues from the lungs. Some patients, however, have allergies or other health concerns that do not make them an appropriate candidate for surgery. If the cancerous tissue cannot be removed with surgery, radiation therapy is usually the next treatment option. Radiation therapy involves the use of radiation beams that target the cancer cells in the lungs. It is a very invasive procedure which comes with many unpleasant side effects including fatigue, nausea, hair loss, and appetite suppression. Chemotherapy is an alternative to radiation that uses pharmaceutical medications in an attempt to attack cancer cells. The problem is that these medications do not differentiate between the cancerous cells and the healthy cells in the body and this leads to debilitating side effects such as hair loss, more nausea, gastrointestinal and digestive problems, and risky exposure to infections.
Since conventional lung cancer treatment plans can be so harsh on the patient’s body, it should come as little surprise that patients are turning toward alternative treatments such as medical cannabis. The wonderful news for these patients is that multiple studies are showing that cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, found in medical marijuana direct the body to induce a process known as autophagy, which is essentially the self-digestion of cells. Scientists have also discovered that not only do the cannabinoids present in medical cannabis cause the cells to die through autophagy, this is done without harming the nearby healthy cells in the process. In addition to taking on the actual cancerous cells and eradicating them, medical cannabis has been shown to alleviate some of the most unpleasant symptoms of lung cancer, including: fatigue, nausea, chronic pain, and appetite loss. While the cancer itself and conventional cancer treatments often cause fatigue, a medical cannabis strain high in sativa can help to counteract this by creating an uplifting burst of energy to help patients tackle their day and feel their best. The cannabis strain known as indica is beneficial in restoring appetite which is important for a patient to get adequate nutritional intake. The antiemetic properties of cannabis provide inflammatory relief and help to treat nausea and other gastrointestinal problems. Additionally, the cannabinoids found in medical cannabis, such as THC and CBD, are well known for their ability to relieve pain and help cancer patients to unwind and receive a full and restorative night’s sleep, which is essential for overall health and well-being.
When considering using medical cannabis to treat lung cancer, it is important to consider the strain, chemical ratio, method of ingestion, and dosage in order to receive the maximum benefit. The best treatment plan for one patient may not always be what is best for another. While inhaling cannabis is not recommended for patients with lung cancer, some wonderful alternative methods of ingestion are edibles, tinctures, full extract cannabis oils, and suppositories. If used as either an alternative treatment or in conjunction with conventional treatment, medical cannabis is a safe and non-toxic choice for not only alleviating the symptoms of lung cancer and its treatment, but for its unique ability to attack cancer cells as well. In the fight against lung cancer, medical marijuana can be your strongest ally. For additional guidance, please reach out to a trusted medical marijuana healthcare provider today.