Although medical marijuana was once a controversial subject in the United States, ongoing studies indicate that its use among mesothelioma patients may help the cancer from spreading. In turn, millions of people who once opposed marijuana are now more compassionate to those who can benefit from its medicinal use.
According to a CNN/ORC International phone survey conducted in January, 2014, most people in the nation now support of medicinal marijuana, which is a stark contrast to only a decade ago, when any of use of marijuana was met with skepticism by many Americans. There are still only a handful of states that allow marijuana for medicinal use, but with the growing support, this may indicate that more states will allow its use in the future, and in turn, more mesothelioma patients will have legal access to.
How Does Medical Marijuana Help Mesothelioma Patients?
Studies on the use of medical marijuana indicate that it not only helps to control of cancer, but it also helps control side effects of chemotherapy treatment, such as nausea and vomiting.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), scientists and researchers report that THC, one of the main ingredients found in marijuana, has helped to slow and even eliminate cancerous cells during animal studies. In addition, a chemically-pure marijuana medication, known as Dronabinol (Marinol®), has been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting associated with cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Per Donald Abrams, a cancer patient medicine specialist at San Francisco’s University of California, medical marijuana not only helps with nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, but it also helps to control pain.
“You do not need a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to tell you that cannabis is effective as an antinausea therapy for patients getting chemotherapy. It works. It’s like needing to do a placebo-controlled trial of penicillin as an antibiotic.”
In addition, a study performed by scientists at Harvard University backed up the findings that medical marijuana has the ability to slow down and kill cancerous cells. In fact, the studies indicate that lung cancer cells were slashed by 50%. In another study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, results indicate that that cannabinoids can hinder cell invasion as well as decrease the invasiveness of cancerous cells.
Side Effects of Medical Marijuana
It’s important to note that similar to most other medications, medical marijuana comes with its own side effects. If you’re in a state that allows marijuana for medicinal use, be certain to discuss the benefits and cons with your physician before making a decision. The most common side effects include:
- Memory lapses
- Increased heart rate
- Decreased blood pressure
- Mood changes
- Increased appetite
States That Allow Medical Marijuana
Currently, there are 24 states that allow medicinal use of marijuana. Each state may have different laws, but your physician should be able to assist you in understanding the acceptable limits:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
Additional Resources and Help for Mesothelioma Patients
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