Herbs and plants were the original treatments for many illnesses and injuries people faced. As such, cannabis or marijuana use dates back centuries. It popped up in Western medicine in the 19th century as a means of relieving pain, inflammation, and spasms.
Today, marijuana use can spark some serious debate, even when considered for medical use only. But regardless of how you feel about its use, more cancer patients are turning to marijuana for a number of reasons.
Marijuana is not legal for use everywhere and researchers have their own concerns about potential side effects. For some patients, however, the benefits can be invaluable as they go through treatment.
A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine – published on 12th January, 2017 – consolidated all evidence published since 1999 regarding the health impacts associated with cannabis and cannabis-derived products, such as marijuana.
In excess of 10,000 scientific abstracts were considered by the committee that carried out the study and wrote the report in order to reach its nearly 100 conclusions.
The growing accessibility of cannabis and acceptance of its use for recreational purposes have raised important public health concerns. Neither the level of therapeutic benefit offered by the drug nor the risks it carries for causing adverse health effects have been rigorously assessed.
“For years the landscape of marijuana use has been rapidly shifting as more and more states are legalizing cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions and recreational use,” said Marie McCormick, chair of the committee; the Sumner and Esther Feldberg Professor of Maternal and Child Health, department of social and behavioral sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass.
The 65 year old psychotherapist Estalyn Walcoff was devastated when she was told that she’s suffering from untreatable lymphoma 5 years ago. But, realizing that having negative thoughts won’t do her any good, she decided to incorporate a spiritual outlook into her life.
She began looking for ways to help herself and came across a study that required test patients for consumption of psilocybin, the active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’, with hopes in treating anxiety and depression in cancer patients.
When she got in NYU where the testing took place, she was amazed by the environment. “There was a couch, flowers, and books, and it seemed not-study-like” she recalls. “Jeff and Seema had a wonderful ritual with the three of us, intending for how that day would go, which I thought was lovely. I also asked if I could read a poem, and play a song that really moved me, to set an intention for the day too.”
Even though “magic mushrooms” weren’t new to her since she’d tried them few times in her early 20’s, this time it was different. This time, she took a journey through the dark barrels of her own mind.
She soon realized that this anxiety was actually a level of her own mind.
“I began feeling that I was actually holding the pain of the world in some way. I had been listening to black spiritual, and I felt the pain in the woman’s voice who was singing the song. I felt the whole gestalt of slavery, and what it is like to pull people out of their homes and take them here to this country and treat them like animals, and I sobbed and sobbed because of that.“ Read the rest of this entry
What do you do when your doctor tells you that they can do nothing more for you, that your stage IV lung cancer is terminal and you only have about 6 months to live so you had better get your affairs in order.
Well, if you are a strong woman living in Australia and have a supportive husband who believes along with you that giving up is not an option, then you look for alternative methods to cure your cancer.
Diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2013, several biopsies determined that chemotherapy would only prolong 54-year-old Sharon Kelly’s life for so long and would make her incredibly ill and weak, and that radiation therapy would do more harm than good.
Sharon had a 5cm primary tumour in her left lung (pictured in the CT scan to the left). She had a number of lymph nodes in her chest that were cancerous as well as a lymph node in the base of her neck that was inflamed with cancer. She had considerable fluid around her heart which they said was cancer in the pleura lining of the left lung.
There is a growing interest in the use of medical marijuana, and more and more studies are being done on the benefits of using marijuana for various conditions, including cancer. There’s no question that the war on drugs has set back medical marijuana research and cannabinoid research in general by probably decades, but fortunately research is surging ahead at the moment.
Researchers from the University of East Anglia in the UK in conjunction with a team from the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona have discovered that the mood-altering effects of marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, is triggered in the brain by a separate mechanism to some of its other effects.