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The Role of CBD to Ease Cancer-Related Symptoms

Some symptoms of cancer or the side effects of cancer treatments can be troublesome. Seeking natural methods to help, some believe that cannabis can provide relief. Research studies to date have not provided a definite answer if smoking cannabis helps. Research has shown that some cannabinoids can help some symptoms and side effects. There are developed drugs containing cannabinoids to treat pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Medical cannabis

 
Medical cannabis is legal in Canada. Recreational cannabis is legal as of October 2018.
 
The use of cannabis for medical treatment is approved by a doctor or nurse practitioner. Once prescribed, you can buy cannabis for medical through licensed producers in Canada.
 
Health Canada’s regulations provide people with the option to use cannabis. This allows patients to use a natural option to help manage cancer symptoms and side effects.  

Relieving symptoms and side effects

 
Cannabinoids or cannabis may help you relax and give you a sense of well-being. Some cancer patients find both help them cope with these symptoms and side effects.
 
Be aware you may find different results. Studies on the effectiveness of cannabis have had conflicting results.
 

Nausea and vomiting

 
Several studies show that some cannabinoids can relieve nausea, vomiting, or both. These are side effects of some cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. 
 
Nabilone (Cesamet) is a pill that has synthetic cannabinoids. Cannabis is approved in Canada to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. When standard antinausea drugs do not relieve these symptoms, doctors often prescribe cannabis.

Loss of appetite

 
Loss of appetite is a common problem for people with cancer. Loss of appetite and weight loss, called cachexia when it is severe, often occurs together. 
 
The appetite can increase in some people when they use cannabis. There have been several clinical trials evaluating cannabis’s effects on appetite or weight loss in people with cancer. Trials have not shown for certain that cannabis can improve appetite.
 

Pain

 
Some people claim that cannabis can help relieve long-term (chronic) or severe pain. Research studies do not give a straightforward answer about its effectiveness. There have been some clinical trials where cannabinoids helped reduce pain.
 
Sativex is a combination of delta-9-THC (Tetranabinex) and cannabidiol (Nabidiolex). They have approved it for Canada as a spray that can apply to the cheek inside the mouth. Sativex may relieve pain from advanced cancer, not relieved with opioids.
 

Side effects and Risks of Cannabis and Cannabinoids for Medical

 
Health Canada’s review of the benefits and risks of cannabis for medical use is not complete. Individual products have not gone through an approval process.
 
Talk to your doctor before using cannabis or drugs containing cannabinoids. Cannabis will interact with drugs and cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
 
Ongoing research into cannabis and cannabinoids
 
Researchers are studying the effect cannabis and cannabinoids has in relief of cancer symptoms. Studies are also looking at its effects on the side effects of cancer treatments. More research is needed to find out the dose and type of cannabis that helps the most with the fewest side effects.
 
Research into the effects of cannabinoids on cancer cells in vitro and on experimental animals has shown some promise. But this research is still in the very early stages. We need much more study before using cannabis or cannabinoids as a cancer treatment.
 
Talk to your family doctor or a medical professional about the benefits and risks of using medical cannabis. This article is for informational purposes only and not medical advice.

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