Ultimate Guide for Cannabis Oil and Cancer
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with cancer, you are probably experiencing a lot of feelings: fear, devastation, uncertainty, anger, possibly even betrayal. It never feels like cancer will happen to you, but once it does, it can feel impossible to escape from those negative emotions and live the best possible life you can with the rest of your time on Earth.
What if we told you there might be a way to not only improve your quality of life, but drastically increase the amount of time you did have left? And what if we also pointed out that even though this method might be a bit expensive, it has an extremely good track record and it’s now legal in many parts of the United States, and decriminalized in all? And what if we also told you that this method was all-natural, plant-based and ready-made to hook in to one of your body’s systems that works hard to fight cancer and ameliorate pain?
Well, cannabis oil is all of those things, and it is quickly rising through the ranks of alternative cancer treatments to the top. Today, you can not only get cannabis oil, but it is becoming recognized as a very effective approach to treating not only the symptoms of cancer, but the cancer itself.
In this article, we will discuss mainstream and alternative cancer treatments, how cannabis oil works and what it can do for your body, and how you should work it into your cancer treatment plan to extend your life and make the time you have more pleasant, less painful and healthier overall.
Mainstream Versus Alternative Cancer Treatments
There are many forms of cancer treatment available today. Some of the most common and well-known forms include:
- Radiation, in which high-energy particles or waves are directed at the tumor to kill cancer cells and shrink it. Radiation types include gamma rays, x-rays and other types of charged particles.
- Chemotherapy, which is the use of chemicals or drugs, often delivered in intravenous form, which attack the tumor.
- Surgery, a common approach to cancers that are still localized in a single area of the body and can therefore be removed. While surgery is very effective for cancers in the early stages, and may lead to complete remission, it is not nearly as effective later on, when the cancer has spread to the rest of the body.
There are also several common forms of alternative cancer treatment. These include:
- Immunotherapy, in which physicians encourage your immune system to work to fight cancer and destroy it using the body’s natural processes for fighting invaders
- Gene therapy, which is still experimental, in which vectors such as viruses can carry the correct genes to your body to fight the cancer cells
- Spirulina, a type of algae that some people say inhibits cancer cells and can even be protective against the disease
- Ozone therapy, in which blood is oxygenated, which may work especially well with immunotherapy
There are other forms of alternative therapies as well, of course, but these are some of the main ones. The good news about cannabis? It works fairly well with all of these. In fact, cannabis has a distinguished history of benefiting human well-being.
History of Cannabis
Hemp has been grown and used for almost 10,000 years. The first known artifact utilizing hemp was found at a village site near modern-day Taiwan, dating to 8,000 BCE. It was braided into cord and used to stabilize pottery, proving that hemp was a normal part of everyday life for villagers and making hemp one of the oldest known crops in cultivation.
Given the somewhat tumultuous reputation of cannabis in modern times, hemp has had a tough road, even though it is a useful fiber for making ropes, clothing, textiles and so forth. Marijuana and hemp are closely related – they are two different species of the Cannabis genus – with hemp containing far lower levels of THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the active ingredient in cannabis and the ingredient responsible for its medical properties. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to assume that cannabis has been cultivated for as long as hemp, making it also one of humanity’s oldest-known crops.
Moreover, cannabis was first recorded as a medicinal product almost 5,000 years ago, in a text by Emperor Shen Neng of China. Cannabis also receives many mentions in sacred texts from India and other parts of Eurasia. It has been mentioned in classic works of literature such as 1,001 Nights and in Renaissance medical texts, and was widely grown in the American colonies for its medicinal properties.
Today, despite its reputation as a drug that causes trouble, we are seeing more and more literature showing that cannabis has many excellent and time-honored abilities. For instance, it is widely known for dulling the pain associated with many medical conditions, including cancer. It relieves anxiety and stress (which can, indirectly, make getting cancer more likely and make it harder to fight, according to the National Cancer Institute). And it can encourage appetite, which battles wasting, a common problem for many people with cancer.
More than that, though, research now proves that cannabis can actually cause the death of cancerous cells without harming healthy cells, and may therefore be very effective at defeating tumors. Before we discuss that, however, let’s talk about cannabis essential oil, how it’s made and how it works on the body.
Cannabis Essential Oil
Essential oils are oils that contain the highly concentrated active ingredients of various plants. While you might be familiar with lavender, rosemary and orange essential oils, however, it may surprise you to learn that cannabis can also be turned into an essential oil.
It’s not particularly hard, either. All you need is a receptacle in which to work, a solvent that will remove the active ingredients from the cannabis plant, and the cannabis itself. The result is extremely potent oil containing high levels of THC. There are other methods of extracting the oil as well, including steam distillation, which removes the essential ingredients from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant.
When finished, the oil is a vibrant green color and smells strongly of cannabis. Although there are increasingly outlets to purchase this oil in the United States, it was for years more common to order it from other countries, especially in Europe. The oil may be found in soaps, perfumes and some foods as well as used in its pure form to fight cancer. Because it is so potent, you only need a very small amount for the desired effect.
To “take” cannabis oil for medicinal purposes, you can do one of several things. Some people dip a joint, or cannabis cigarette, in the essential oil and smoke it. Smoking is a very effective delivery system, but is not necessarily good for all types of cancer (for instance, lung cancer). Plus, some people have natural inhibitions against smoking that make them not want to engage in that type of activity.
You can also vaporize it, inhaling only the active ingredients, if that’s your preference. Vaporizers are not expensive, and this too is a very effective way to get the main cancer-fighting ingredients into your body.
The other common way to use cannabis oil is to ingest it. Because it is an oil, it can be baked into a variety of goods, drizzled over food, blended into smoothies or otherwise eaten or drunk. This method of consumption is highly effective, doesn’t require extra equipment, and delivers the active ingredients very effectively to the body.
The Endocannabinoid System
So why, exactly, does cannabis work so well on humans?
As it turns out, there is an entire bodily system devoted to interacting with the compounds produced by the cannabis plant, and it’s called the endocannabinoid system. The full name is the endogenous cannabinoid system, and it was so named because the body’s interaction with cannabis actually led to the discovery of this system.
This is not unique to humans; in fact, all mammals have an endocannabinoid system, which is spread throughout the brain and nervous system, and also has outposts in organs and tissues. This system is especially set up to “receive” THC molecules, as well as other cannabinoids, such as the fatty acid Anandamide. This system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or the body’s ability to stay in balance. This includes the death of cells to promote a healthy cycle of regeneration and death (cells die just like organisms) as well as the recycling of cellular products.
This probably helps explain why cannabis promotes the death of tumor cells, which are not natural and throw the body out of balance. Because cancer cells make the entire body unhealthy and eventually cause it to die, killing them off keeps the system as a whole in check. We will talk more about cannabis’s ability to kill off cancer cells below.
The endocannabinoid system also helps in the regulation of communication between different bodily systems, and therefore serves another role in maintaining the healthy function of the body as a whole. It also regulates the connection between body and mind, which is very important in living a long life with cancer or even beating it, because reduced levels of stress and heightened levels of awareness are crucial tools in the fight against it.
Naturally, cannabis is not the only substance that activates and interacts with this system. Your body also makes compounds that do the same thing. However, when our body’s aren’t functioning well, cannabis can step in to stimulate some of the purposes the endocannabinoid system is supposed to serve, and can therefore make you healthier.
Let’s now take a look at some of the most common health benefits of using cannabis oil.
Health Benefits of Cannabis Oil
Aside from relieving the symptoms of cancer and fighting tumors, which we will discuss in the following section, cannabis oil has many beneficial properties that can improve health whether or not you have cancer, and no matter what stage your cancer is in.
First of all, cannabis is known for relieving anxiety and stress. The natural compounds within the oil, most notably THC, cause a calm euphoria or Zen-like state that many people find very comforting, especially when they’re dealing with the stress of a cancer diagnosis. Since this kind of stress can lead to insomnia and sleep deprivation – which works counter to healing from cancer – cannabis oil can be very useful there as well, soothing sleep complaints. Cannabis lowers heart rate, reduces nervous energy and makes restless minds and bodies feel calmer, which can lead to more restful nights of sleep and a greater ability to heal.
Another of the main problems for people with a cancer diagnosis is they feel ill. Sometimes the cancer itself causes this effect, while other times medication is responsible for it. Cannabis not only calms nausea enough for some cancer patients to eat, it also makes food taste more appealing. Plus, cannabis can regulate digestion, making movements and intake easier and more reliable.
Cancer often comes with pain. This can be due to many causes, such as the cancer itself, surgery, invasive procedures or soreness from sitting still or lying in bed. Cannabis soothes pain, leads to better joint function and makes it easier for people who are suffering from cancer or other maladies to move around and get normal tasks done. Chemotherapy can be especially painful, and cannabis is excellent at diminishing this pain and normalizing how your body feels.
Cannabis has also been noted to prevent cancer, although this is somewhat controversial. While we cannot recommend taking cannabis oil as a preventative, you may find if you take it that your cancer does not metastasize, or move into the later stages, nearly as quickly or at all.
In addition, cannabis is also known to protect the heart, the eyes and the skin. Since all bodily systems can be affected negatively by chemotherapy (which poisons other parts of the body as well as the cancerous cells), taking a substance that promotes regrowth and protects healthy cells is a good idea. Plus, cannabis can help balance cholesterol and boost antioxidants in your system, which can fight damaging free radicals that lead to aging. For this reason, cannabis is noted for its wrinkle-fighting abilities, as well as reduction in conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. All of these benefits can help your body remain stable and healthy while undergoing the sometimes-traumatizing side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
Cannabis is furthermore noted for its role in prevention of macular degeneration. In fact, many people associate medical marijuana use with glaucoma, a degenerative eye condition. For better eye health, whether or not you have cancer, cannabis has been proven to be helpful.
Lastly, cannabis can substantially help reduce the incidence and severity of headaches and migraines. If you have cancer, you may get headaches for many reasons. Some cancers press on certain nerves or other parts of the body, causing headaches. Sometimes medications can cause headaches, as can resting in a certain position for long periods of time. Additional causes include stress, anxiety, fatigue and lack of nutrition. Cannabis provides an excellent defense against headaches no matter what their ultimate cause.
But perhaps the most important of cannabis’s abilities for our purposes is the fact that it can really and truly kill the cells that cause tumors.
Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells
While opponents of using cannabis medically have tried hard to claim that cannabis doesn’t treat cancer – or if it does, it only treats the side effects – research has now unequivocally proven that cannabis does, in fact, kill cancer cells.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “Studies in mice and rats have shown that cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.”
Furthermore, according to the same site, “A laboratory study of delta-9-THC in hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) cells showed that it damaged or killed the cancer cells. The same study of delta-9-THC in mouse models of liver cancer showed that it had antitumor effects. Delta-9-THC has been shown to cause these effects by acting on molecules that may also be found in non-small cell lung cancer cells and breast cancer cells.”
Moreover, “A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells showed that it caused cancer cell death while having little effect on normal breast cells” and “A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in human glioma cells showed that when given along with chemotherapy, CBD may make chemotherapy more effective and increase cancer cell death without harming normal cells.”
In other words, according to medical science and top-notch research, cannabis can officially claim the following benefits:
- Shrinks tumors
- Causes cancer cells to spontaneously kill themselves, while not having the same effect on normal healthy cells
- Blocks blood vessels that “feed” tumors
- Has anticancer effects on a wide variety of different cancer types
- Can be used alongside chemotherapy, a primary approach to treating cancer in Western medicine
Cannabis Oil: A Miracle?
These benefits lead many people to wonder whether or not cannabis oil is actually a miracle cure. It’s important to note, before we discuss the curative properties of cannabis any further, that we caution anyone against believing that there is a real cure for all types of cancer. Currently the consensus is that you are only cured if your disease completely disappears and you have no recurrences for five years. Although some types of cancer – especially when caught in the early stages – may be sent into remission and may not reappear for years, if ever, many other types will always be around in some form. And in the later stages of development, especially when cancer has metastasized (or spread to other parts of the body), full cure is unlikely (though many people still live long and happy lives with cancer, properly treated).
That said, cannabis oil has shown itself to be remarkably effective at inhibiting cancerous cell growth, reducing the effects of cancer and even shrinking the size of tumors. This happens because the introduction of cannabis to your system in high levels causes cancer cells to self-destruct. That is to say, they spontaneously kill themselves, which is a healthy bodily process that happens in everyone.
However, anecdotal evidence such as that coming out of grower Constance Finley’s practice shows that cannabis oil can have results that do seem a lot like miracles. Patients who have very short prognoses, sometimes less than six weeks, have been referred to her by oncologists and shown remarkable turnarounds. Rather than dying within the short several-month lifespans they’re often diagnosed with, they survived far longer, many of them for years.
This is not to say that cannabis oil is a cure-all, or that it works for everyone. And because limited studies have been done about cannabis oil specifically, it’s hard to say definitively that it will work for you. However, the anecdotal evidence from people who have tried cannabis oil as a remedy has been stellar. Many of the people who first try it are in advanced stages of cancer, which means it has metastasized to other areas of the body, usually a death knell. In the case of people who use high doses, however – as much as a gram per day – the survival rates even in such advanced stages are impressive.
So yes, cannabis oil might just be a miracle after all. Now how should you go about using it yourself?
Cannabis Oil and Treatment Plans
First of all, cannabis oil is a strong drug. It is important not to jump right in with huge doses in hopes of destroying your cancer. You may instead harm your delicate body, which in cases of cancer (especially when it’s advanced), can cause side effects such as:
Instead of guessing at dosage, talk to a professional who knows how much to prescribe. They will most likely start you small, with amounts as small as a grain of rice, and work up to larger amounts: sometimes as much as a gram in a day. Talk to a cannabis professional (such as a grower or an oncologist who refers you to a grower) about how much is the right amount, and about how much you can take when you’re also undergoing other treatments.
The good news is that cannabis oil doesn’t appear to interact poorly with mainstream forms of treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation both seem to mesh well with cannabis oil, and many types of medication can be prescribed at the same time. That said, we have a short caveat to share.
Use Caution with Cannabis
While the health benefits of cannabis are clear, and its power to fight cancer has by now been well established, it’s important to note that cannabis is still a powerful psychotropic substance that you should not use lightly. Too much at one time can make people uncomfortably “high” and add to the stress of your situation rather than decreasing it.
Used correctly, cannabis essential oil should not deliver many side effects, however. That’s why it’s important to speak to an expert about your use of cannabis before you start on a regimen. Your use of this essential oil should be in controlled amounts, starting slowly and increasing bit by bit until you find a manageable level that both feels okay and combats the tumor.
Plus, because cannabis can be a strong drug in high enough doses, you’ll need to be careful about it mixing with your other medications. Again, you should talk to a health professional before proceeding with medical cannabis use to make sure you don’t have any effects from interactions.
Cannabis and You
At the end of the day, the most important thing is whether or not cannabis works for you. Cancer is an individual journey, and you need to do everything you can to enjoy your life, feel your best and be healthy enough to spend time with the friends and family who matter most.
Talk to your medical provider about cannabis, and do not be afraid to seek a second or a third opinion. While not everyone approves of this course of treatment, you can absolutely find professionals who can help you make a plan to use cannabis essential oil to treat your side effects, shrink your tumors and possibly add years to your life. Don’t be afraid to try, because it could make all the difference. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.