When the average person thinks of cannabis, it’s likely that getting stoned, listening to music, and eating junk food will come to mind well before thoughts of treating serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
When you consider how the plant has been depicted in the media for decades, and even the majority of experiences you’ve probably had with cannabis in your own life, then those associations are honestly pretty fair.
But the reality is that research is currently totally reshaping the way we look at the cannabis plant and its many chemical components. In the future, that reshaping should only become more pronounced.
Cannabis should probably be looked at as a versatile natural medicine first and an overall good time second. The plant’s ability to provide relief to those suffering from severe illnesses is both profound and confounding.
It’s honestly surprising that a naturally occurring plant offers similar or even greater benefits than drugs developed in laboratories over years — or even decades — and with fewer serious side effects.
This talk may all sound like hyperbole, but when you see some of the results of the research that has been conducted on cannabis’s medicinal properties, you’ll probably be just as astounded.
Continue reading for some fascinating information on cannabis as a treatment for cancer symptoms, its ability to regulate seizures, its potential to delay and slow Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
Cannabis Treatment for Cancer
Cancer is as serious a disease as there is, and as can be expected from such an illness, the symptoms that come from it and some of its treatments are rather severe.
Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy often experience nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and neuropathic pain. There are various drugs that doctors can prescribe to help relieve some of these symptoms, but they can come with their own unwanted side effects.
Cannabis for Chemo Patients
A lot of research has been conducted into cannabis’s ability to provide relief from the negative side effects of chemotherapy. The results have been quite encouraging. A 2020 study from the University of Sydney found that cannabis can, in fact, reduce nausea and vomiting symptoms in chemotherapy patients.
These results are great news, as nausea and vomiting are considered by many who undergo chemotherapy to be the two symptoms that are the most distressing and unpleasant.
A 2014 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that CBD inhibits neuropathic pain caused by chemotherapy treatment.
Neuropathic pain, or peripheral neuropathy, results from damage to the nerves connected to movement and sensation in the legs, arms, feet, and hands. Dealing with it can be agonizing and distressing, and it’s even been enough for some patients to refuse further treatment.
Another negative side effect of chemotherapy is loss of appetite and an unpleasant altering of one’s sense of taste and smell. A 2019 study found that the appetite-stimulating effects of cannabis can prove useful for chemo patients struggling to nourish themselves.
Cannabis for Fighting Tumor Growth
It may be hard to believe, but cannabis might even be able to combat certain forms of cancer. No, it’s not some sort of miracle cure, but it has been found in multiple studies to shrink tumors by killing off their cells.
This 2014 study by Molecular Cancer Therapeutics also found that cannabinoids in tandem with radiation therapy may play a part in combating high-grade glioma, one of the most aggressive and deadly forms of cancer.
Cannabis for Regulating Seizures
Both anecdotal evidence and scientific research point towards cannabis’s ability to treat those who suffer from epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can be either genetically inherited or acquired as the result of an injury to the brain.
Its main symptom is unpredictable seizures, which can result in unusual behavior, loss of consciousness, and sometimes even death.
Seizures caused by epilepsy can seriously impair a person’s quality of life, as their condition can cause them to be excluded from common activities, such as driving or swimming. There are medications that can help to treat the condition, but they are not entirely effective, and certain forms of epilepsy are medication-resistant.
Fortunately, more studies are now being conducted into cannabis’s ability to reduce epileptic seizures, and the results are looking promising.
Early studies actually did not have great results, but they also had very small sample sizes. A 2018 trial published in Cureus, however, upped the sample size from fewer than 15 participants to over 100 and found that CBD significantly reduced the frequency of epileptic seizures.
Many of the trials involved the use of epilepsy medications, so it’s unclear whether the cannabinoid itself reduced seizures or if it helped increase the efficacy of the medication, but it’s an incredible sign for the future of cannabis as medicine either way.
Cannabis and Diabetes Prevention
Studies on this area of cannabis’s potential medical benefits are still ongoing and not totally conclusive, but there is reason to believe that cannabis can help prevent or treat diabetes by regulating blood sugar, reducing inflammation, relieving nerve pain, and more.
Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic disease caused when the pancreas is unable to properly use insulin, which is a vital hormone that promotes glucose absorption into multiple parts of the body.
It is believed that cannabis increases sensitivity to insulin and helps to manage blood sugar levels, both of which can be crucial in either preventing type 2 diabetes or treating those who have it.
Promoting Insulin Sensitivity and Pain Relief
As already mentioned, much more research needs to be done on cannabis and its ability to prevent or treat diabetes, but there was a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Medicine, which found that cannabis may, in fact, increase insulin sensitivity.
There was also a 2015 study from the Journal of Pain that found cannabis to be a potentially effective treatment for diabetics suffering from painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
It’s always important to look closely at any available studies regarding cannabis as medicine, and it’s also important to remember that anecdotal evidence has heavy potential to be flawed or misleading, but there’s certainly enough out there to give hope to diabetics looking for a natural treatment for their condition.
Cannabis as a Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is among the most cruel and tragic illnesses, and unfortunately, there is no known cure and very few options for treatment.
However, cannabis is currently being studied as a possible means of delaying and slowing the onset of the debilitating disease, and although there is not yet any conclusive evidence, results do look promising.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative (meaning it gets progressively worse) disease that causes the brain cells and brain cell connections to die. This death causes a deterioration of mental functioning and increasing memory loss.
Sufferers from this disease will slowly lose their ability to perform regular tasks on their own, eventually requiring full-time care. There are management strategies and medications that can slow this process, but they are limited.
Promoting Brain Cell Growth
Because studies suggest that CBD can promote the growth of brain cells, it is believed that the cannabinoid could be able to help slow down the degenerative process of Alzheimer’s disease and provide patients with a higher quality of life for a longer period of time.
A collection of studies from 2019 found that this may be the case and that THC may be able to increase CBD’s efficacy thanks to the entourage effect.
Destroying Toxic Proteins
A key aspect of Alzheimer’s is the proliferation of a toxic protein known as amyloid beta, which causes plaque to form on the brain. A 2016 study from Salk Institute actually found that cannabinoids can remove amyloid beta proteins from the brain.
These studies were only preliminary, and they were conducted on lab-grown neurons, not in a human brain, but they point to the potential for great things regarding cannabis as an Alzheimer’s treatment.
Cannabis and Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a virus that leads to inflammation of the liver. If left untreated, the infection can become chronic and may ultimately result in cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, or death.
It is curable, but it often doesn’t show symptoms for extended periods of time, which can result in a complicated treatment process that requires the use of certain medications that have unpleasant side effects.
One of those unpleasant side effects is nausea, which cannabinoids are known to effectively treat. Because of this, cannabis is a fairly popular “home remedy” for those dealing with hepatitis C treatments.
There’s also evidence to suggest that cannabis’s anti-nausea effects made it easier for certain hepatitis C patients to stick to their treatment regimen.
However, this doesn’t mean that cannabis actually has anything to do with the treatment of the illness; it simply has the potential to make enduring the sometimes unpleasant treatment a lot easier.
If you currently have hepatitis C, be aware that cannabis is in no way a form of treatment for the infection. You should speak with your physician about a treatment plan and about using cannabis as a means to mitigate the nausea symptoms caused by the medication if that’s what you’re hoping to do.
Looking for Medical or Recreational Cannabis?
Now that you know a bit about the potential cannabis has to treat various illnesses, you’re probably interested in conducting some research of your own. If that’s the case, then check out Denver Dispensaries’ medical and recreational cannabis menus today or contact us with any questions. We’re ready to provide you with the best you can buy.