Elisa had been buying Stephen sublingual CBD oil – $89 for one ounce – because it proved to be the only thing effectively alleviating the tingling and numbness that had recently consumed his fingers and toes. He and his husband Wade’s savings had been bled dry by their $2,400-a-month insurance premium plus general expenses. Stephen is unable to work since his life has become a blur of excruciating pain, treatments, hope, fear and heavy doses of opioids like fentanyl and oxycodone.
“I think it’s funny,” Stephen remarks, “that in America you’re able to buy alcohol, which is known to cause all these problems, but CBD oil and medical marijuana are more regulated and looked down upon. It’s sad because they’ve definitely helped me immensely.”
“High THC products are good for nausea, vomiting and severe pain, giving more of an opiate-type pain relief. THC is a good muscle relaxer and helps with sleep. CBD is a great anti-inflammatory, works well for nerve pain, and is an anti-convulsant so it’s good for seizures.
Politicians have been embroiled in contentious debates for years about the morality and logistics of legalizing medical marijuana despite reputable studies, like the Rand study, which supports its efficacy. In the meantime, people like Stephen suffer.
Overwhelmed by medical expenses, Stephen and Wade accepted the offer of a friend to set up a GoFundMe page for them.
Cancer patients have reported finding pain relief and appetite stimulation from the use of medical marijuana, also known as cannabis. In fact, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s (PanCAN) Patient Services, which provides free, in-depth and personalized resources and information about pancreatic cancer, has received many questions about the use and effects of medical marijuana. For example, how is marijuana derived and how can it be used by cancer patients?
This map shows U.S. states and territories where marijuana is legal for medical purposes.
(Image courtesy of the National Cancer Institute.)
Some studies have reported that patients regained appetite and sense of taste, while others reported cannabinoids are no more helpful than other prescription appetite stimulant medications. Likewise, some studies about pain relief report promising results, while others have shown cannabinoids are no more helpful than prescription medications for controlling pain.
Marijuana is a plant that contains substances called cannabinoids. The cannabinoids found in marijuana plants may help treat the symptoms and side effects caused by cancer and cancer treatments. In addition to the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in marijuana plants, cannabinoid drugs have been developed in laboratories for use in helping to treat side effects and symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments.
The use of marijuana and cannabinoid drugs for medicinal purposes, such as controlling pain and stimulating appetite in cancer patients, have been and continue to be studied in the lab and in clinics. Consequently, conflicting information has been reported in clinical studies using cannabinoids as pain relievers or appetite stimulants for cancer patients.
Medicinal cannabis, or medical marijuana, has been used by cancer patients to help with symptoms ranging from nausea and loss of appetite, to pain and sleeplessness, to depression and anxiety. Patients have reported that cannabis and it’s non-psychoactive competent, cannabidiol or CBD provide relief for a number of symptoms and treatment side effects.
Various states have some form of medical cannabis program available for those who qualify. Find out more about medical marijuana in your state. There are several ways to administer medical marijuana and CBD, from consuming in food or capsules, topical ointments, and sublingual sprays or oils.
If you wish to add medicinal cannabis to your treatment, it should be through a medical professional. We encourage you to discuss your treatment plan and goals with your medical team to find the best outcome for you. Together you and your health care team can develop a treatment plan that meets your needs.