Cancer

There are many forms of cancer, with no “silver bullet” cure that works in all cases. Treatment plans are best discussed with qualified healthcare professionals, and often come down to personal choices. Cannabis can be a helpful tool in managing symptoms of the disease as well as side effects related to conventional treatment. In some cases cannabis can work together with conventional treatments for increased anti-tumor benefits.

 

Cancer and Your Endocannabinoid System

Different types of cancer affect the endocannabinoid system differently, but we still don’t know why. For example, increased CB2 levels correlate with severity in breast cancer while increased CB1 receptors correlate with severity in prostate cancer. [65]

CB1 and CB2 receptors are present in many types of cancer cells, even if they are not present in the healthy tissue from which the cancer originated. When cannabinoids bind to these receptors they can set off a chain reaction, or mechanism, that leads to death of the cancer cell. [28]

 

Cannabinoids behave differently in healthy cells, where they may actually extend the life of a cell rather than cut it short. [66]

 

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Medical Cannabis Guidelines

Just as there are many different types of cancers, there are also different cannabinoids used to treat tumors. There are animal studies to refer to, and some encouraging anecdotal evidence on humans.  In some cases, a specific cannabinoid may make the tumor grow rather than shrink, or may interfere with effective chemotherapy rather than enhance the effects.

Perhaps more than any other indication for the use of medical cannabis, treating cancer is dependent on the individual’s diagnosis and staging. Reliable research on this topic is still in its infancy so guidance on use must be obtained from a qualified oncologist or cannabinoid specialist.

 

DOSING STRATEGY

While the use of THC for anti-tumor effects is promising in some cases, extremely high doses may be required and should be used with caution, titrating up slowly to minimize side effects. Low to moderate doses of THC and/or CBD have been helpful for many cancer patients in managing symptoms and improving quality of life. To avoid feeling overly intoxicated, start low with THC (as low as 1 mg) and gradually increase until you find the dose that works best for you. Combining CBD with THC can also help mitigate the intoxicating effects of THC.

Desired Effect

Pain Relief--Cancer

Active Compound

THC [1], THC:CBD Balance [1]

Delivery Method

Pulmonary, Sublingual, Oral
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Desired Effect

Nausea Relief

Active Compound

CBDA [9], CBD [42],
THC:CBD Balance [11, 57], THC [1, 42, 57]

Delivery Method

Pulmonary, Sublingual
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Desired Effect

Appetite Enhancement

Active Compound

THC [1, 14, 62]

Delivery Method

Pulmonary, Sublingual
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Desired Effect

Weight Gain

Active Compound

THC [14, 62]

Delivery Method

Pulmonary, Sublingual
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Desired Effect

Anxiety Relief

Active Compound

CBD [15, 16, 60], THC Low Dose [31, 43, 60]
Linalool [53], Limonene [53]

Delivery Method

Pulmonary, Sublingual, Oral
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Desired Effect

Sleep--Falling Asleep

Active Compound

THC:CBD Balance [6], THC [6, 64]

Delivery Method

Pulmonary, Sublingual
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Desired Effect

Sleep--Staying Asleep

Active Compound

THC:CBD Balance [52], Myrcene [53],
Linalool [53], Nerolidol [53],
CBD Low Dose (Based on clinical observation)

Delivery Method

Pulmonary, Sublingual, Oral
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