Each year, it appears that cancer’s prevalence continues to rise, afflicting people from all backgrounds and ages. With how pervasive cancer can be and how complex treatments are, people scramble to find solutions in making their recovery process even slightly more comfortable than it is. With this desperation, many patients have begun turning to medical marijuana for cancer, attempting to understand its benefits, as well as potential risks. 

The relationship of using medicinal marijuana for cancer is a tricky one, to put it lightly. Cases broadly differ, and cannabis doesn’t affect every type of cancer in the same way. That’s why, here at Elevate Holistics, we’ve done our best to fully break down what it means to use medical marijuana for cancer — whether it’s the risks, benefits, or best strains. So, does marijuana help cancer? Let’s find out.

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Medical Marijuana for Cancer

How Does Medical Marijuana Help Cancer?

For thousands of years, people have turned to medicinal cannabis for treatments of all kinds — even cancer. One of the most famous cannabis-cancer success stories comes from Canadian engineer Rick Simpson. 

Doctors diagnosed Simpson with a daunting form of skin cancer back in 2003 after the man found strange bumps on his arm. Upon discovering it was basal cell carcinoma, Simpson started researching cancer treatments. Particularly, the man wanted to know cannabis’s effects on the lesions. 

After finding potential in a few animal studies, Simpson took the time to craft his own cannabis oils. (Not something you should try yourself, by the way.) After doing this, he took the oil, rubbed it directly onto his cancerous lesions, and covered them with bandages. After a few days, Simpson removed the bandages, and, to his surprise, the growths had almost entirely disappeared.  

From that moment, Simpson knew he had discovered something incredible, eventually going on to sell his own Rick Simpson Oil — or Phoenix Tears, as he calls it. 

While Rick Simpson’s story, specifically, is incredibly miraculous, it did get many people curious about how cannabis can actually help cancer. From what we saw, it is clear that there are benefits — but how does this happen? 

Many scientists believe that medical cannabis works to slow or stop the production of cancerous cells and growths. It appears to have the ability to kill some cancer cells, similar to what happened with Simpson’s case. However, most people do not turn to medical cannabis to treat cancer. Instead, they turn to it to help alleviate its debilitating symptoms, resulting in profound relief. (But we’ll talk about that in a minute.)  

Does Marijuana Kill Cancer Cells?

While we saw the effects of cannabis oil on cancerous growths, that begs the question, “Does marijuana kill cancer cells?”

Unfortunately, the science here is still quite premature — like it is with more medical cannabis studies. Although, through pain-staking studies, researchers have found promising evidence. In one study, scientists found that THC appeared to have the ability to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells in the lungs, actually killing tumor cells in areas the body’s CB receptors could target. 

In general, THC seems to be the primary cancer-fighting agent within the cannabis plant, as CBD works to reduce general complications and side effects. As we continue to see more concluded clinical trials, it is becoming more and more evident of THC’s anti-cancer properties. So, while we cannot concretely say that, yes, marijuana kills cancer cells, the evidence is overwhelmingly promising. 

For now, though, it’s also essential to address the benefits that using cannabis for cancer can bring, more than fighting and killing cancer cells. With turning to medical marijuana for cancer, many patients find the ability to retake control of their lives. 

Medical Marijuana Effects on Cancer

Before we take a deep dive into the effects that medical cannabis has on cancer, it’s crucial to establish the different results that patients experience. Just like any medication, medical cannabis is going to react uniquely to all of its consumers. So, while some patients may find extreme support and benefit, others may not see the same solace in the plant. It just depends on you, as well as the type of cancer you have. 

However, there is still a wide range of general benefits that most patients see when turning to cannabis treatment for cancer. 

Benefits for Cancer Patients

One of the most prevalent benefits of cannabis for cancer patients is the plant’s anti-nausea characteristics. For many, chemotherapy treatment brings about extreme waves of nausea and stomach upset, making it incredibly difficult to eat the way you once did. Typically, to combat this nausea, doctors prescribe even more medications — usually, that’s the last thing cancer patients want. Thankfully, that’s where medical marijuana comes in handy.

Medicinal cannabis for cancer patients can do wonders for bouts of nausea, helping to not only keep food down but to potentially allow you to enjoy eating again in the first place. Creating this newfound healthy eating schedule can help you gain back healthy weight, putting some sustenance on those bones. Amid chemo, without cannabis, doing this can feel nearly impossible.

Along with combatting persistent nausea, cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties that may help fight chronic pain during treatment. During cancer treatments, your body is doing absolutely everything it can to fight off potential danger — that is a lot of work! Medicinal cannabis for cancer can act as an added support, gently helping your body get what it needs to feel better. Thus, the plant’s anti-inflammatory ways can target areas of inflammation that your body may be ignoring, providing you with some much-needed relief. 

Risks for Cancer Patients

Of course, with all reward comes a little risk. Thankfully, in terms of cannabis, the plant substance is generally considered safe to consume. The only time that risks run rampant within the cannabis community is when the plant is abused during consumption. Others may experience ill side effects of cannabis even with minuscule consumption, but these effects tend to be extremely mild and easily combated. 

The most common risk of using medicinal marijuana for cancer is lung upset for those with lung cancer. While cannabis can still prove successful here, the methodology in which you enjoy your MMJ plays a considerable part. Smoking anything can put severe strain and damage on your lungs, mainly depending on the frequency. Usually, those with cancer opt-out of smoking the plant simply because of this risk factor. 

Cannabis can also cause minor side effects like paranoia, dizziness, and fatigue. Thankfully, as we mentioned, you can quickly remedy these side effects. If any of these feelings do occur during your cannabis treatment for cancer, try completing everyday tasks like making a sandwich, drinking water, or taking a shower. Even talking to a loved one can bring you out of that space, helping you feel like yourself again.  

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Up-Close Photo of Medical Marijuana for Cancer

Types of Cancer

Unfortunately, there are myriad cancer types out there, each one just as unique as the next. With such complex kinds of ailments, it can be challenging to determine whether or not medical marijuana is suitable for your form of cancer. 

So, we’ve listed three types of cancer down below to discuss how cannabis may or may not help. If your type of cancer isn’t listed, that doesn’t mean that cannabis will not help!  

Before we get started here, it’s crucial to remember that cannabis shouldn’t be a substitute for your cancer treatments. Instead, you typically use it alongside your regular treatment (with a doctor’s approval) to help receive the ultimate benefits. 

Medical Marijuana for Breast Cancer

Using medical marijuana for breast cancer is becoming more common every day. Primarily, cancer patients turn to MMJ during breast cancer treatment to help combat the pain and discomfort they experience from chemotherapy. 

Chronic pain, alongside chronic nausea, is widespread among breast cancer patients. This leaves you to stay dormant, struggling to operate as you once did. However, the anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and analgesic properties help to combat these adverse side effects. People who turn to medicinal marijuana for breast cancer often find themselves with lower pain levels, better eating habits and may even begin to gain weight again. 

Medical Marijuana for Prostate Cancer

Interestingly enough, cannabis for the prostate has been looked into quite extensively. Even though most of our data comes from animal studies, the results are more than promising for men with prostate cancer. 

Studies demonstrate that certain cannabinoids — not THC — have the ability to inhibit prostate carcinoma growth. Alongside the typical anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties that the plant demonstrates, for men with prostate cancer, cannabis may be able to slow the development of these tumors, creating even more support during treatment. Again, you should not rely on cannabis alone; but, combine it with your typical treatment, and it could do wonders. 

Medical Marijuana for Lung Cancer

At first glance, you may not think that medical cannabis could have any benefit for lung cancer patients. However, as studies continue to roll out, it appears that medical marijuana for lung cancer could be incredibly beneficial if used correctly. 

Over the past few decades, various studies have found that cannabis is quite beneficial in targeting and fighting lung cancer cells. In a few extra-controversial cases, patients have opted to treat their lung cancer with cannabis — and they found success. Of course, this is extremely rare, and we do not recommend trying it, but it does demonstrate the potential that medical marijuana has for lung cancer patients. 

Interested in getting a medical marijuana card but not sure if you qualify?

Best Strain of Cannabis for Cancer

When you’re looking for the best strain of cannabis for cancer, you have to consider a few factors. First, what type of cancer do you have? Are you looking to target pain, nausea, or potential cell growth? How do you want to consume your medical cannabis?

Once you have these answers, finding the best strain of cannabis for cancer becomes so much easier. Still, here are some of the most popular marijuana strains for cancer patients:

  • Harlequin
  • Northern Lights
  • ACDC
  • Sour Diesel 
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • Cannatonic 

Can You Get a Medical Card for Cancer?

All of this now begs the question: can you get a medical card for cancer? Yes, cancer is one of the most common qualifying conditions for medical marijuana cards in the US. You can get a medical card for cancer in practically every state with legalized MMJ! And, even if cancer isn’t directly a qualifying condition, you can likely get a card for your chronic pain or chronic nausea caused by cancer treatment. 

If you’re interested in getting your medical card for cancer, Elevate Holistics will help you every step of the way. We want to help you get your MMJ card — online, secure, and fast. Our services are 100% hassle-free and easy to understand, even if you aren’t the most technologically savvy person out there. Whether you’re hoping to get your MMJ card for cancer, chronic pain, or something else entirely, Elevate Holistics will be the one to boost your health and upgrade your life. 

Start your MMJ journey with Elevate Holistics today.