Medical Marijuana For Cancer Patients In Tennessee
Does Cancer Qualify for Medical Cannabis in Tennessee?
According to the National Cancer Institute there were nearly 17 million cancer survivors in the United States as of 2019, a number that is expected to increase to 22.2 million by 2030. Research has consistently demonstrated that cannabis is an incredibly powerful medicine for individuals living with cancer and can help effectively treat the unfortunate mass of side effects patients endure.
In particular, the use of cannabis in alleviating nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, pain, depression, anxiety, and insomnia have been well documented, and offer the potential for significant relief to those undergoing treatment for cancer.
Tennessee has approved the use of medical cannabis for those diagnosed with cancer, when such disease is diagnosed as end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness, recalcitrant nausea and vomiting, or pain.
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How Can Cannabis Help Tennessee Patients with Cancer?
Although cannabis is technically illegal under federal law, the U.S. government has found a way to make an exception for certain drug companies. While these inorganic manufactured alternatives might be the right choice for some, others will find natural compounds from the cannabis plant more appropriate.
As of right now, there are two synthetic drugs that are manufactured to work similarly to the natural compounds found in cannabis that have been granted approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
1. Dronabinol (Marinol) is a synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) copy that’s approved by the FDA to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. It is also intended to help with weight loss and poor appetite in patients with AIDS. Dronabinol is a cannabis-related synthetically derived compound, it is a lab created chemical copy of a naturally occurring compound (in this case, THC).
2. Nabilone (Cesamet) is a synthetic cannabinoid that is chemically similar to THC. It can be taken by mouth to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy when other drugs have not worked. Nabilone is a cannabis-related synthetically derived compound that is lab created and not a naturally occurring compound.
Treating Cancer with Cannabis
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting the effectiveness of cannabis for those living with cancer, however the amount of research from the United States is limited due to the legal status of marijuana under federal law. Researchers from overseas have picked up the slack, and they have been able to clearly demonstrate that marijuana can help in managing the following:
Living with pain can be unbearable, and many cancer patients turn to opiate-based medications for the relief they need. Unfortunately, continued use of opiate-based medications can result in significant unwanted side effects, irreparable bodily damage, and have increased potential for abuse and addiction. Medical cannabis has proven incredibly effective at providing pain relief and producing anti-inflammatory effects as well.
Some treatment plans may make use of both opioids and cannabis together to reduce the dosage of opiate medication that is needed. Recent studies have found that individuals using cannabis extracts during clinical trials needed less opioid-based medication for non-cancer pain.
Neuropathy is often associated with damage to nerves, which unfortunately can occur when undergoing chemotherapy and other forms of cancer treatments. Neuropathy can be a difficult sensation to describe, as symptoms vary significantly from individual to individual. Patients often experience weakness, numbness, tingling, needles, or burning sensations in their limbs. Many patients with neuropathy report significant relief after using cannabis.
It is well known that nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. For many years, medical cannabis products have been demonstrated to significantly reduce nausea and other unwanted side-effects from these treatments.
Similar to nausea, loss of appetite is often a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Without an appetite, it can become challenging for cancer patients to consume enough calories. This can result in loss of muscle mass, chronic fatigue, and a decline in mobility. Specific cannabinoids in cannabis have proven to be an effective treatment method to restore appetite for individuals undergoing intensive treatments.