Many doctors also believe that cannabis is best used together with other forms of medicine, so don’t use this as an excuse to no longer see your oncologist.
Data from the journal Gynecologic Oncology Reports reveals that most gynecologic oncology patients find cannabis products to be either just as effective or even more effective compared to prescription meds that are aimed at reducing cancer symptoms.
Yale New Haven Hospital investigators polled 31 patients of gynecologic oncology about their medical cannabis consumption. A total of 74% of respondents were either undergoing immunotherapy or chemotherapy during the time of study. A staggering 83% of them reported that marijuana was effective for managing symptoms especially in the areas of insomnia, neuropathy, appetite, and anxiety while most of them also believed that its efficacy and safety was just the same or even better than conventional prescription medications.
“The majority of patients in our study felt that medical cannabis was equivalent or superior in efficacy to other medications (e.g. opioids, antiemetics, anxiolytics, and sleep aids) in relieving their symptoms… Of the subset of patients using medical cannabis for pain, 63 percent reported a reduction in opioid use… These data suggest medical cannabis may be a reasonable alternative or adjunct to medications frequently used for cancer or treatment-related symptoms,” concluded the authors. No Surprise There While there are dozens, perhaps even hundreds of ways to medicate with cannabis for a range of illnesses, it seems to be particularly effective for those dealing with the Big C.
And doctors are agreeing.
A 2019 study shared at the American Society for Clinical Oncology annual meeting revealed that a significant majority of oncology specialists believe that cannabis can help their patients. However, in the same study it revealed that medical providers weren’t confident in recommending the proper dosage to their patients, but this is a common sentiment among many.
Despite the ongoing challenges, there are clearly so many advantages to using cannabis for cancer treatment especially complementary to existing therapies including those that are approved by the FDA. Marijuana is well-tolerated and safe for a great majority and any adverse effects are rare. It helps cancer patients improve their appetite, deal with nausea caused by chemotherapy, and sleep well. These issues often arise among cancer patients who are undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.
The patients see the benefits as well, even if not all doctors are convinced just yet about its benefits.
“Physicians don’t usually advocate for the use of cannabis products, but if you ask patients, it’s astonishing the number of people who are already on them or are contemplating using them,” says Dr. Charu Agrawal, who specializes in palliative care at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. “Most patients say they heard about it from friends or family.”
There are certain things to be cautious about when using cannabis for cancer treatments, such as how it possibly reacts with medications the patient is already taking. For example, CBD tends to inhibit receptors that are responsible for metabolizing common drugs such as methadone, antidepressants, opioids, and statins which causes much higher levels of the medications in the blood.