Cancer is a collection of related diseases, according to National Cancer Institute. But in general, all cancer types begin when some of the cells start dividing unstoppable and spreading into the surrounding tissues.
When cancer develops, the normal and healthy cells in the body become more abnormal. For example, new cells form even when unnecessary or damaged ones survive when they have to die. These are the additional cells that divide continuously and form tumors.
Symptoms and Signs
There are no specific cancer symptoms. For this reason, you should limit your risk factors or have the proper cancer screening, which can be specified based on your age and doctor’s recommendation.
People at high risk of developing cancer include heavy drinkers and smokers as well as those with too much sun exposure. These individuals should be aware of cancer symptoms, which must be evaluated by the medical service provider if it develops.
For the symptoms, check out the following signs that should not be ignored for early detection and potentially a cure.
- Unexplained weight loss: You’ll lose weight at some point if you have cancer, more often an unexplained weight loss.
- Fatigue: Extreme tiredness is common as cancer grows, such as in leukemia.
- Pain: This symptom is common in testicular or bone cancer, usually a persistent headache that doesn’t get better with treatment. Lingering headache can be a sign of brain cancer.
- Fever: It occurs usually when cancer treatment or the disease itself is affecting the immune system.
- Skin changes: Common with skin cancers and certain types are changes in the skin, such as reddened, itchy or yellowish one.
**Note: Some of the following can be cancer specific.
- Changes in bladder or bowel function
- Unusual discharge or bleeding
- Lump or thickening in the breast
- Not healing sores
- Trouble swallowing
- Nagging hoarseness or cough
Medical Marijuana as an alternative medicine
What is medical marijuana? It is a plant-based medicine from the Cannabis Indica or Sativa plant. Medical marijuana, which a medical cannabis dispensary sells, has three main active compounds: CBN, CBD and THC. It is used to alleviate certain symptoms or treat diseases that include but not limited to,
- Muscle spasms
- Low appetite
- Sleep problems
- Multiple sclerosis
Other qualifying conditions including but not limited to,
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Tourette Syndrome
- Terminal illness
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Other benefits also include treatment on anorexia and chemo-induced nausea.
Recreational Marijuana and Medical Marijuana Differences
MMJ and recreational marijuana have their differences. For one, medical marijuana has higher CBD than the recreational type has. On the other hand, recreational marijuana has higher THC than the medical type has, which is why patients who want to avoid getting the ‘high effect’ prefer MMJ.
When it comes to access, medical marijuana patients need a recommendation, but anyone can buy recreational marijuana. People can buy it at a recreational dispensary provided it’s legal in their state and without a medical card.
In addition, you need a qualifying condition before obtaining an MMJ card that also needs renewal annually.
Regarding age, you need to be at least 18 years old to buy medical marijuana. In some cases, you can buy it even if you’re below 18 by applying and being approved for an MMJ card but under certain circumstances. However, it can also vary from state to state, so do your homework to find out what applies to you.
On the other hand, you need to be at least 21 years old to buy MMJ from a dispensary where recreational weed is allowed.
How Medical Marijuana Can Help Cancer Patients
Can medical marijuana help cancer patients? Yes, because it can be used in treating or alleviating its symptoms.
- Pain alleviation: A commonly associated cancer symptom is chronic pain that MMJ can help patients cope. Both CBD and THC offer effective pain relief especially among those who are undergoing cancer therapy.
- Appetite stimulation: Radiation and other metabolic changes can directly affect appetite. MMJ particularly those high in THC can help by stimulating the appetite of a patient because of the manner on how the endocannabinoid system is interacting with and controlling one’s feeding behavior.
- Vomiting and nausea reduction: MMJ can also help in alleviating chemo-induced nausea and vomiting. In fact, studies had it medical marijuana was more effective versus mainstream anti-emetics were.
- Digestive relief: Diarrhea and constipation are also potential side effects in particular to opiate pain medications. Medical marijuana can help in reducing inflammation that can lead to intestinal distress.
As more patients are increasingly taking a holistic approach in alleviating cancer symptoms, medical weed may play a significant role in this regard in the future. And while conclusive research is yet available when it comes to cancer treatment using medical marijuana, the initial findings of studies have been promising and positive towards the potentials of MMJ on cancer.