Cannabis edibles can relieve nausea, pain and other symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment. Here’s why—and how to choose the right edibles for treating side effects of cancer treatment.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., with nearly two million new cases expected in 2022. Advancements in cancer treatment are improving life for people with many types of cancer, but these treatments are typically harsh regimens that can cause serious side effects like nausea, loss of appetite and pain.
Now, though, a growing body of research reveals that cannabis can effectively relieve many of the symptoms that accompany cancer treatment — and long-lasting cannabis edibles can deliver those benefits in a variety of tasty, easy-to-use forms. Read on for more about how you can use edibles for treating side effects of cancer treatment.
How Can Cannabis Help Cancer Patients?
Cancer is an umbrella term for a complex collection of diseases that arise from harmful mutations in the genetic structure of the body’s own cells. A variety of genetic, lifestyle and environmental actors can disrupt normal processes for maintaining homeostasis or balance among all the different systems that keep the body healthy.
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a large network of cell receptors that supports homeostasis and the normal functioning of the central nervous system, digestive system and other pathways in the body and brain. Receptors in the ECS respond to cannabinoid chemicals produced naturally in the tissues, but they also respond in very similar ways to cannabinoid compounds and terpenes in the cannabis sativa plant.
Because the endocannabinoid system has receptors throughout the body, research now suggests that this system may play an important role in the processes that lead to the development of cancer. The effects of cannabis on the ECS also explains why cannabis can help to relieve the typical side effects of cancer treatments, such as gastrointestinal problems, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression and pain.
Cannabis Edibles for Relief of Symptoms and Side Effects
Smoking is the traditional way to use cannabis, but the fast-growing edibles market is offering plenty of other options for people who don’t want to light up. Edibles are usually defined as foods or beverages that are infused with cannabis or cannabis extracts, such as candies, sparkling beverages or cookies. But now, many cannabis companies are also producing other cannabis products that are taken by mouth, such as capsules, tinctures or sublingual tabs.
Cannabis edibles can produce the same effects as smoking or vaping, but edibles are processed through the digestive system like any other food, so it can take considerably longer to feel their effects. The digestive process can also affect the potency and bioavailability of cannabinoids. For example, the liver converts THC into a more potent form called 11-OH-THC, but only about 20 percent of cannabinoids in an average edible survive the digestive process to reach the brain.
Whether you’re a seasoned cannabis user or just starting out, it’s important to follow the traditional advice to “start low and go slow.” Edibles can vary in their cannabis content, so start with a small amount and wait at least an hour to feel its effects before having more. Also, research what type of edibles for treating side effects of cancer will best address your symptoms — we’ve done some of the legwork here.
Balanced Edibles for Nausea and Loss of Appetite
Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite are common side effects of chemotherapy regimens. Recent studies suggest that cannabis can trigger endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and digestive system to reduce nausea and regulate gut motility. Cannabis can also boost the production of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite — the cause of the famous “munchies.”
CBD-Rich Edibles for Sleep Disturbances and Insomnia
Sleep disorders affect nearly 80% of people with cancer. Some studies suggest that cannabis compounds, particularly CBD and CBN, can activate receptors in the central nervous system and brain to moderate pain signaling and reduce the stress and anxiety that interfere with sleep.
Try this: CBN Sleepy Capsules from PROOF
Calming Compounds for Anxiety and Depression
About a third of cancer patients report feelings of anxiety and depression. But cannabis can activate responses in the brain’s pathways for pleasure and reward and reduce activity in pathways associated with arousal and fear.
Try this: Charlotte’s Web Full Spectrum Gummies
THC and CBD for Pain and Other Discomfort
Studies show that cannabis may be able to relieve pain as effectively as prescription pain medications. Along with moderating pain signaling in the brain and central nervous systems, cannabis products containing some THC and CBD can boost levels of the “feel-good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which can help inhibit perceptions of pain.
The side effects of cancer treatments can disrupt everyday life in many ways, but long-lasting cannabis edibles can work with the body’s own systems to ease those effects — and there’s an edible for just about every need.
Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online
It’s easy to get your medical marijuana document with online telehealth service HelloMD. Register, pay and receive an online medical consultation with a licensed practitioner and purchase medical cannabis today. You don’t pay unless you’re approved!