Overview of Cancer
Millions of Americans are afflicted with cancer, the nation’s second-leading cause of death. There are more than 100 types of cancer. Carcinomas are the most common types of cancer, which include breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and brain cancer. Sarcoma is another form of cancer that begins in the tissue that supports and connects the body. A sarcoma can develop in fat, nerves, muscles, tendons, joints, blood or lymph vessels, cartilage, or bone. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood. Leukemia begins when healthy blood cells change and grow uncontrollably. Lastly, Lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of glands and vessels that help protect and fight infection. The term Cancer is a general name used to identify a large group of diseases that develop due to abnormal cells growing out of control, while normal body cells continuously grow, divide, and die. Cancer cells will continue to grow, rather than die, and they can invade other tissues. In the United States 1 in every 4 people die from cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there are over 1.6 million new cases in the United States every year.
Treatment of cancer varies depending on the location of cancer and how far advanced it is . However, there are a number of primary types of cancer treatment include the following: Surgery, which involves removing the cancerous tumor. Radiation therapy, which uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Immuno-therapy, which helps your immune system fight cancer. Hormone therapy, which slows or stops the growth of cancer that uses hormones to grow. Targeted therapy, which targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow and divide; and Stem cell transplant, which involves a procedure that restores blood-forming stem cells in people who have had theirs destroyed by high doses of cancer treatments.
Cannabis Effects for Cancer
Research concludes that cannabis has the potential of inhibiting the growth of and even killing cancer cells. Cannabis also can help patients manage symptoms associated with cancer treatments, such as pain, severe nausea and vominting, anxiety, and insomnia. Cannabis has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. Scientists have identified many biologically active components in marijuana. These are called cannabinoids. The two best studied components are the chemicals delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (often referred to as THC), and cannabidiol (CBD). Other cannabinoids are being studied, (American Cancer Society). Different compounds in marijuana have different actions in the human body. For example, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) seems to cause the “high” reported by marijuana users, and also can help relieve pain and nausea, reduce inflammation, and can act as an antioxidant. Cannabidiol (CBD) can help treat seizures, can reduce anxiety and paranoia, and can counteract the “high” caused by THC. THC and CBD, activate the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Activation of the CB1 and CB2receptors by cannabinoids can elicit antitumor effects in a number of aggressive cancers. THC and CBD have been shown to inhibit the progression of cancers located in the breast, lung, prostate, and colon.
Cannabis has long demonstrated it can provide relief for patients suffering from nausea related to cancer treatments. Studies have found that CBD (cannabidiol) is effective at treating the difficult to control symptoms of nausea in chemotherapy patients. Cannabis has also been shown to be effective at lowering neuropathic pain that traditional treatment was unable to manage. Cancer patients with intractable pain who had previously and unsuccessfully tried to manage their discomfort with opioids saw significant reductions in pain levels after being treated with cannabis containing both THC and CBD.
Weight loss due to nausea and a loss of appetite are common side effects of cancer treatment. However, THC has shown to significantly stimulate appetite in patients that have cachexia related to cancer. The ability to stimulate appetite in cancer patients is significant in helping to prevent wasting syndrome related to cancer treatments. Nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can help you feel better and stay stronger, (American Cancer Society). A survey study analyzing the effects of cannabis in 131 cancer patients after six to eight weeks of treatment found significant improvements in all of the measured cancer-related symptoms, which included nausea, vomiting, mood disorders, fatigue, weight loss, anorexia, constipation, sexual function, sleep disorders, itching, and pain. The National Cancer Institute, an organization run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, currently recognizes cannabis as an effective treatment for providing relief of a number of symptoms associated with cancer, including pain, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and loss of appetite, (Medical Marijuana Inc.)