Medical Marijuana & Mesothelioma

Depending on your treatment, in particular, marijuana could interfere with other medications you’re on and should be approved before use.

In recent years, marijuana has been approved in certain states across the country for medical and recreational uses. In thirty-three states across America, it has become a helpful supplemental solution for cancer patients and those with chronic illnesses to help reduce pain, stress, and improve the overall quality of their life. Chemotherapy especially does a lot to affect the body and make it harder to eat, sleep, and go about your daily business. Medical marijuana has been lauded as a helpful aid to bring back appetite and help patients get the rest that they need. 

Patients who are struggling with mesothelioma, in particular, may have a more difficult time imbibing medical marijuana as their illness is centered typically in the lungs and chest cavity. But evidence has been found that medical-grade marijuana could help with chest pain and general discomfort that mesothelioma patients face every day. While it may not be recommended to smoke it, there are other ways to receive those benefits that make it one of the top suggested alternative treatments across the board. 

Before you decide to enjoy a bit of the green stuff, it is important to talk with your oncologist to see if marijuana is right for you.

Depending on your treatment, in particular, marijuana could interfere with other medications you’re on and should be approved before use. 

How It Can Help

What makes it so sought after as an alternative medical solution, is how it treats the symptoms that often accompany chemotherapy and radiology treatments. Things like nausea, lack of appetite, fitful sleep or insomnia, muscle aches, and anxiety, have been said to have been treated somewhat by the addition of medical-grade marijuana to a traditional treatment plan. It has been said that while it may come with some side-effects of its own, it greatly reduces those symptoms and improves them with relative ease. 

The normal side effects that can come with marijuana like dizziness, rapid heart palpitations, paranoia, and more, are all possible. However, most patients report that their side effects tend to be either lessened or non-existent. Depending on how much is imbibed and the type, side effects may vary. 

While it is in no way a cure for mesothelioma, the reduction in painful symptoms from the illness and the treatment make marijuana a popular choice for a reason. 

Scientific Data on Marijuana and Mesothelioma Care

As marijuana is still largely criminalized in many parts of the U.S, most of the available research on the benefits of marijuana for cancer patients is from other countries. With the emerging research that marijuana can aid in reducing the symptoms associated with cancer treatment, there is a large amount of support for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes across the U.S. The beneficial elements of marijuana have gone beyond just the THC, but research has been conducted to isolate CBD as a helpful cancer aid as well. 

In recent years, CBD especially has emerged as a more widely available treatment method for many ailments.

Businesses are making creams, pills, and edibles with CBD to reduce anxiety, help with sleep, relieve pain, and aid in stress relief. Both CBD and THC handle these things in different ways, as CBD doesn’t give patients the high that they associate with marijuana. 

Without the THC element, you cannot receive the high that comes with general marijuana use. This is why you don’t need a medical marijuana card or legalization to be able to buy or sell CBD products. 

The studies on marijuana have gone beyond it being used as simply a treatment for symptoms, as it has been shown to affect possible anti-cancer treatment. Recent research has shown that THC and CBD may slow the growth and even destroy the cells of certain types of cancer. While this research has mostly been conducted with petri dish samples and animal studies, it is showing promising results as a possible therapy to reduce the spread of the disease. 

There isn’t enough of course to support this as an official reduction method, so before you decide to make it a part of either a preventative or a management regimen you should consult your doctor. 

Medical Marijuana and Mesothelioma Treatment

THC is the psychoactive element of cannabis, which has been shown to help with nausea and vomiting in cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. Cannabidiol or CBD has shown surprising effectiveness in helping treat seizures and reduce anxiety. In certain experiments, CBD has even been shown to reduce cell damage in mice with colon cancer.

It was said that the mice treated with CBD showed certain resistance to the invasiveness of cancer cells. Cannabinoids were shown to also help reduce vomiting and stimulate appetites in these subjects. This has been seen in human patients as well, as those undergoing chemotherapies have sought out medical marijuana as a way to get their appetites back. It can be incredibly difficult to maintain a normal appetite and thus keep weight on while undergoing chemo or radiation, so the THC’s appetite stimulation can help these patients regain normalcy. 

It has been said that these cannabinoids can also function as anti-inflammatories. This can help with pain management solutions depending on the potency and dosages. Clinical trials are still ongoing to determine other ways that marijuana can be helpful to patients. Some of these trials have helped to determine the side effects that come along with marijuana usage as opposed to traditional medicines. 

Some patients have reported dizziness or sleepiness that marijuana gives them, which traditional anti-nausea medications do not. 

As far as anti-cancer therapy goes, that research is still in need of further development. Current results show that cannabinoids can reduce the growth and spread of tumors, as well as reduce the penetrative nature of cancer cells by weakening or even killing them off in some cases. Both THC and CBD have shown qualities that reduce the growth of cancer cells and help them to die off rather than continue their spread. 

These studies are ongoing, but the research has proven to be promising. 

Cons of Marijuana Treatment

While a lot of the research has been positive as far as the benefits of medical marijuana go, that does not mean it is a faultless treatment option. The symptom reduction and possible anti-cancer elements may not work for everyone and in some, it may cause adverse effects. For some, it may cause dizziness, discomfort, and may even promote cancer growth in some cases. 

Some cases have shown that THC may inhibit immunity to cancer growth. Considering mesothelioma typically affects the lungs and your breathing, smoking marijuana may inflame your lungs and cause discomfort. Depending on your tolerance as well, you may not be comfortable with the side effects marijuana gives.

While it may be an adequate alternative treatment for some, it isn’t recommended for everyone. 

Marijuana Edibles

As smoking can cause discomfort, lung irritation, and trouble breathing for some, edibles might be the best way to administer medical-grade marijuana. This can eradicate some of the worrisome side effects of smoking it to make it a viable option for those who can’t smoke or don’t want to. Smoking marijuana and ingesting it can also change the effects. 

Whereas smoking marijuana is an instant effect, you have to wait for edibles to be metabolized before the effect can set in. This can take up to a few hours to fully take effect which isn’t ideal for some who are looking for a quicker reaction. However, the benefits of edible marijuana are in the reaction you’ll have in response. For some, they say that the feeling of relief can be stronger and last longer when it is ingested rather than smoked. For those looking for a longer period of relief, this can be a better option as it takes longer for the edible to be fully digested and for the effects to dissipate. 

Edibles come in many different forms as well, so you can find the right type that is ideal for your routine. Some people enjoy taking them in the form of baked goods like cookies or brownies, which are made from infusing butter or oil with the THC which can make the overall experience more palatable. You can also take them in candy form like gummies, chocolates, hard candies, even fudge if you want more control over your dosage. If you’re looking to sip slowly on something there are also hot or cold beverage options so you can dose it out and then administer slowly. 

The most important thing to remember when utilizing edibles is that you pay attention to your dosages.

You can always take more if you need it, but you can’t take less once you’ve already eaten it. Gauge how specific dosages affect you and your symptoms and then go from there. If your product is pre-packaged, make sure to follow the directions so you don’t overdo it. 

If you’re worried about sugars or being able to ingest heavy foods, you may be able to take capsules or tinctures which can be administered orally as well. If you’re unable to stomach much food or you want a no-calorie option, tinctures can be placed under the tongue and capsules can be swallowed like any other pill. 

There are even more products emerging on the market that can be administered topically if you don’t want to take anything orally at all. Mesothelioma patients may find particular relief with THC or CBD infused creams that can be applied directly to areas that are in pain. If your state also happens to be one of the states that don’t allow medical marijuana, you may find they do allow the sale of CBD products as they remove the psychoactive element. 

Many states these days have CBD shops cropping up with all sorts of products for you to pick and choose from. 

Synthetic THC

With the unavailability of medical marijuana for so many patients, pharmaceutical companies have attempted to recreate the effects by developing a synthetic version of THC. The two medications that tend to mimic the natural effects of THC are Marinol and Cesamet, and their main focus is on nausea reduction and stimulating your appetite. While they don’t tend to be as effective as cannabis, they can be a good alternative if you’re unable to access it. 

They do come with more risks than marijuana does, which can be troubling.

Side effects such as dizziness, heart palpitations, and even seizures aren’t uncommon with these drugs. For the effectiveness and the lack of heavy side effects, if you can access it marijuana in its natural state is probably your best bet. 

Where is Medical Marijuana Legal? 

For years marijuana has been regulated.

Several different laws were put in place over the years to regulate and criminalize marijuana use. It has taken several decades to break down these laws to allow for proper scientific research to take place on marijuana’s medicinal benefits as well as allow for it to be established as a legal medical treatment in certain states across the U.S. 

In Which States is Medical Marijuana Legal?

  • Alaska: One ounce usable
  • Arizona: Two and a half ounces usable
  • Arkansas: Two and a half ounces usable
  • California: Eight ounces usable
  • Colorado: Two ounces usable
  • Connecticut: Two and a half ounces usable
  • District of Columbia: Two ounces usable
  • Delaware: Six ounces usable
  • Florida: Unspecified amount; enough to last thirty-five days 
  • Hawaii: Four ounces usable
  • Illinois: Two and a half ounces usable for two weeks
  • Maine: Two and a half ounces usable
  • Maryland: About four ounces usable for thirty days
  • Massachusetts: Ten ounces usable for sixty days
  • Michigan: Two and a half ounces usable
  • Minnesota: Unspecified amount; enough to last thirty days; must be an unsmokable form of marijuana
  • Montana: One ounce usable
  • Nevada: Two and a half ounces usable
  • New Hampshire: Two ounces usable
  • New Jersey: Two ounces usable
  • New Mexico: Six ounces usable
  • New York: Unspecified amount; enough to last thirty days; must be an unsmokable form of marijuana
  • North Dakota: Three ounces every two weeks
  • Ohio: Undetermined amount for a total of ninety days 
  • Oregon: Twenty-four ounces usable
  • Pennsylvania: Unspecified amount; enough to last thirty days
  • Rhode Island: Two and a half ounces usable
  • Utah: Unprocessed marijuana, about four ounces
  • Vermont: Two ounces usable
  • Washington: Eight ounces usable
  • West Virginia: Unspecified amount; enough to last thirty days 

Discuss With Your Oncologist

Your doctor has specified knowledge about your journey. They know intimately how your type of mesothelioma reacts to certain medicines, treatments, and what symptoms tend to crop up the most. Not only do they have a wealth of experience from other patients, but they have devoted their time and effort to learning you and how you function with your treatment plan. All of this knowledge and the knowledge of their colleagues have helped them to determine what is right for your specific form of treatment. 

This means you should consult them before adding any kind of alternative medicine to your regimen. It may seem like a simple addition, but some medications react poorly with substances like marijuana without you even realizing it. You could be inhibiting your treatment without even knowing, simply because you didn’t discuss your options with your oncologist beforehand. 

Nowadays several cancer treatment centers specialize in integrative medicine which is a form of treatment that combines traditional methods with alternative medical practices. This can be anything from merging your base treatment like chemotherapy with a change in diet, the addition of yoga or acupuncture, and of course medical marijuana treatment. With its emerging popularity across the United States, there has been a rising number of patients who are looking to supplement their traditional treatments with some medical-grade cannabis. 

This isn’t a bad idea for most who are just looking to help pick their appetite back up and reduce their anxiety.

For some patients, marijuana can lessen the effectiveness of traditional treatments, so should be used with caution. 

Your doctor is your best resource for deciding if medical marijuana is the correct next step for your treatment. They will also be able to tell you if you should go with the traditional method of smoking the product, or if it would be better to ingest or use it topically. It is becoming easier to administer marijuana to cancer patients as there are such a wide array of options these days. 

If you believe that medical marijuana treatment would be right for you and your doctor does not feel that they are knowledgeable enough on the subject, Most doctors may not even suggest medical marijuana unless it is brought up by the patient first. The best part about this though is that your doctor will be more willing to do their research if they know you are interested in that potential treatment method. 

Trust your doctor to help you out and invest their time into you because they want what is best for you and your recovery but don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and see if it fits into your treatment plan. 

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