October is national breast cancer awareness month. It’s a time where we see pink shirts and pink ribbons in support of those who have experienced breast cancer. It is also a time where we focus on information and education about breast cancer. One new and emerging area of education is the use of medical marijuana to help those suffering with breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most diagnosed form of cancer in America. The number of women that will be diagnosed with it is staggering. Nearly 1 in 8 women will experience some form of breast cancer during their lifetime. In 2020, an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 48,530 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. So, when you see these kinds of numbers you can understand why so many would be interested in medical marijuana for breast cancer.
Maryland and Delaware have legalized medical marijuana for those suffering from an approved qualifying condition – breast cancer being one of them. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are looking for additional forms of relief, book an appointment with one of Green Relief Health’s medical marijuana doctors. They will talk you through the application process and help you find medical marijuana products that fit your individual needs.
What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer as it is named is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. Cancer occurs when our own body’s cells begin to grow out of control. Breast cancer typically, although not always, forms a tumor that can be seen on an x-ray or can be felt as a lump on the breast.
Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast. Most breast cancers start in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple and some can start in the glands that make breast milk. There are also other types of less common breast cancer like phyllodes tumor and angiosarcoma. Sarcomas and lymphomas start in other tissues in the breast and are not really thought of as breast cancers.
Using Medical Marijuana For Breast Cancer
Medical marijuana may be able to help breast cancer patients in two different ways. The first way is of course dealing with some of the symptoms of breast cancer and the side effects of some of the treatment methods. However, there is some early evidence that parts of the marijuana plant can help cancer in other ways.
Data suggests the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) which is part of the marijuana plant could help prevent breast cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. Researchers used a synthetic cannabinoid modeled after CBD on breast cancer cells. They found making compounds that target multiple cannabinoid receptors in breast cancer cells could reduce the likelihood of them spreading.
The National Cancer Institute currently says that there is not enough evidence to definitively recommend cannabis for cancer treatments. However, there have been laboratory studies looking at the effects of cannabis on cancer cells. One study with rats did indicate that marijuana may have protective effects against the development of some types of tumors.
How Can Medical Marijuana Help Breast Cancer Patients?
Medical marijuana can help breast cancer patients and survivors in many ways. A study conducted at the end of 2019 that included 612 participants who have had a breast cancer diagnosis showed that seventy-nine percent of the participants reported using marijuana during active treatment like chemotherapy, targeted therapy, hormonal therapy and radiation, and it was often used to treat more than one symptom or side effect.
This same study reported that 42% of patients used medical marijuana to treat both cancer symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatments. The study also found that 75% of its participants reported having a very effective to extremely effective experience using medical marijuana for breast cancer.
While the evidence is limited in the United States because of the legal status of marijuana, overseas there is evidence of marijuana’s ability to help with many cancer and cancer treatment related symptoms including chronic pain, nausea, appetite lose, and neuropathy.
One of the most common symptoms of cancer and one of the major side effects of many cancer treatments is chronic pain. Medical marijuana is known for its ability to provide pain relief. Many use medical cannabis for chronic pain relief including breast cancer patients. In fact, some can use medical marijuana as an alternative to traditional pain medications such as opioids.
Many breast cancer patients face appetite loss during their treatment. This is a normal side effect to many chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatment. For some if they do not have an appetite stimulant, they are unable to consume enough food to keep them well. This can compound the effects of an already weak body due to cancer. Medical marijuana has the ability of being a powerful appetite stimulant. The THC in medical marijuana can increase a person’s appetite leading to higher caloric intake and better overall outcomes.
One of the primary reasons that many breast cancer patients experience appetite loss is because of nausea. Nausea is a common side effect of some breast cancer treatments including chemotherapy. Medical marijuana has been shown to significantly reduce nausea and other unwanted side-effects from breast cancer treatments.
Neuropathy in cancer patients typically occurs when nerves are damaged. One of the most common ways that patients experience neuropathy is from treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy. Neuropathy can cause several symptoms including tingling, burning, or pain.
Like how medical marijuana can help with chronic pain, it is also able to help relieve the symptoms associated with neuropathy pain. Many medical marijuana patients report significant relief from their neuropathy symptoms after using medical cannabis.
Medical Marijuana For Breast Cancer Takeaways
Medical marijuana has the potential to significantly benefit many breast cancer patients. Its ability to help with chronic pain, appetite loss, nausea, neuropathy, and more has proven effective for many patients. While research is still early, it also appears that cannabis may have other positive benefits that could help in the fight against cancer.
Living with breast cancer can be difficult, but medical cannabis can help make things better. With plenty of different methods of ingestion to fit every individual’s needs, there really is something for everyone. Take the first step to bettering your life by contacting us at Green Relief Health today to schedule a time to speak with one of our medical marijuana doctors about your Maryland or Delaware medical marijuana certification.