Tag: cancer

How Cannabis Oil (CBD) Kills Cancer

cureyourowncancer.org

Health Insurance and Cancer: Tips and Resources

Managing Health Insurance When Someone Has Cancer

The most important thing for adults and children with cancer is having a health insurance plan that covers needed cancer treatments. It’s key to keep your health insurance coverage with no coverage gaps.

If you or someone in your family has cancer, it’s especially important to know these things about health insurance:

 

  • DO NOT let your health insurance lapse.
  • Pay your health insurance premiums and other costs in full and on time. New insurance can be hard to get–you don’t get a special enrollment period to buy marketplace insurance if you lost coverage because you didn’t pay premiums.
  • If you are changing insurance plans, don’t let one policy lapse until the new one goes into effect. This includes when you are switching to Medicare.
  • Know the details of your individual insurance plan and its coverage. Ask your plan administrator for a Summary of Benefits (SPB). This is an easy-to-understand description of a plan’s benefits and the costs you will have to pay. If you think you might need more coverage than a plan offers, ask your insurance carrier if it’s available.
  • When possible, call the insurer to make sure that any planned medical service (such as surgery, procedures, or treatments) does not require prior authorization.
  • If a bill looks odd or wrong, make sure to call or email your insurer to avoid being mistakenly charged more than you should.
  • Submit claims for all medical expenses, even when you’re not sure if they’re covered.
  • Keep accurate and complete records of all claims submitted, pending (waiting), and paid.
  • Keep copies of all paperwork related to your claims, such as letters of medical necessity, explanations of benefits (EOBs), bills, receipts, requests for sick leave or family medical leave (FMLA), and correspondence with insurance companies.
  • Get a caseworker, a hospital financial counselor, or a social worker to help you if your finances are limited. Often, companies or hospitals can work with you to make special payment arrangements if you let them know about your situation.
  • Send in your bills for reimbursement as you get them. If you become overwhelmed with bills or tracking your medical expenses, get help from trusted family members and/or friends. Contact local support organizations, such as your American Cancer Society or your state’s government agencies, for extra help.

 

Renewing or selecting a new plan

Most work-based insurance plans have an open enrollment period once a year. This is when you can look at all health plans offered at work. You can also change plans or add a new family member to your plan at this time. Sometimes you have the option to keep the same plan you had before, but sometimes that plan is going away or changing. When this happens, you should look carefully at the new options and how they will cover the cancer treatments you need. For a worksheet that helps you compare plans and find a plan that covers your needs, see ourHealth Plan Worksheet: Know Your Coverage & Costs.

If you get your plan on the state health marketplace, it’s important to select your plan early enough so that it starts before your old plan lapses. See our information Tips for Choosing the Right Health Insurance Plan.

If you have Medicare, you can visit their Open Enrollment Center online at www.cms.gov/Center/Special-Topic/Open-Enrollment-Center.html, or you can call them at 1-800-633-4227. The same general rules apply when comparing plans. When reviewing Medicare Part D, you may want to check out our Tips for Choosing the Right Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

If you have Medicaid or CHIP, complete your eligibility/renewal forms right away. Most states mail these out each year to be sure you still meet the requirements for coverage. If you move, give your new address to the Health Department right away so you don’t miss your annual renewal. Keep copies of the completed forms for reference, and so that you’ll know when they’re due next. That way you can call if you don’t get your renewal forms on time.

Getting answers to insurance-related questions

Questions about insurance coverage often come up during treatment. Here are some tips for dealing with insurance-related questions:

 

  • Speak with the insurer or managed care provider’s customer service department.
  • Ask the cancer care team social worker for help.
  • Hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices often have someone who can help you fill out claims for insurance coverage or reimbursement. Ask the case manager or a financial assistance counselor to help guide you through what can be a complex process.
  • Talk with the consumer advocacy office of the government agency that oversees your insurance plan. (See If Your Insurance Claim Is Denied)
  • Learn about the insurance laws that protect the public. Call your American Cancer Society National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-227-2345. You might also visit www.healthcare.gov/using-insurance/understanding/rights/index.html for more information.

 

More information from your American Cancer Society

We have a lot more information that may also be helpful to you. Explore www.cancer.org, or call our National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-227-2345. We’re here to help you any time, day or night.

Other organizations and websites*

Along with the American Cancer Society, other sources of information and support are listed below.

State Health Care Marketplaces – US Department of Health and Human Services
Toll-free number: 1-800-318-2596 (also in Spanish)
TTY: 1-855-889-4325
Website: www.healthcare.gov

Provides information on the new insurance law, takes you through the steps of finding insurance, and much more. If you don’t have Internet access, the phone number will connect you with your state’s marketplace.

Medicaid – US Department of Health and Human Services
Toll-free number: 1-877-696-6775
Website: www.medicaid.gov/index.html

Your state social service or human service agency can give you the best answers to questions about your benefits, eligibility, and fraud. To get to your state’s Medicaid website, go to www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-State/By-State.html

Medicare – US Department of Health and Human Services
Toll-free number: 1-800-633-4227
TTY: 1-877-486-2048
Website: www.medicare.gov

Answers questions, provides literature, and gives referrals to state Medicare offices and local HMO’s with Medicare contracts.

Department of Veterans Affairs
Toll-free number: 1-800-827-1000
Website: www.va.gov

For information on v

eteran’s medical benefits and whether you qualify for them
Toll-free number: 1-877-222-8387
Website: www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp

Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA)
Toll-free number: 1-800-733-8387
Website: www.va.gov/PURCHASEDCARE/programs/dependents/champva/index.asp

For information on coverage of eligible families and survivors of veterans and military service members. The program is administered by the Chief Business Office Purchased Care (CBOPC) in Denver, Colorado.

US Department of Labor, Employee Benefits, Security Administration (EBSA)
Toll-free number: 1-866-444-3272
Website: www.dol.gov/ebsa

Information on employee benefit laws, including COBRA, FMLA, and HIPAA requirements of employer-based health coverage and self-insured health plans. Also has information on recent changes in health care laws. Information for military reservists who must leave their private employers for active duty can be found at:www.dol.gov/elaws/vets/userra/mainmenu.asp

National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Toll-free Number: 1-866-470-6242
Website: http://naic.org/state_web_map.htm

Offers contact information for your state insurance commission (also called state insurance department). You can contact your state insurance commission for insurance information and rules specific to your state and find out what you can do about problems with your insurance plan

quoted from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/findingandpayingfortreatment/understandinghealthinsurance/healthinsuranceoptions/managing-health-insurance-when-someone-has-cancer

9 Powerful Foods To Fight Cancer

https://elissagoodman.com/lifestyle/9-powerful-foods-to-fight-cancer/

Pranayama Breathing Techniques for Cancer Meditation and Yoga

4 Ways Cancer Patients Can Benefit From Yoga

  • by Lorna Borenstein, Founder + CEO of online wellness video network, Grokker.com
  • This October marked the one-year anniversary of my mother’s cancer diagnosis. While pink ribbons are sported for 31 days by loving supporters, no matter the time of year, those suffering from cancer face physical and emotional challenges from first diagnosis all the way through post-treatment. My mother faced her cancer with tremendous courage and grace. She also took up a new hobby during her treatment, yoga. A fellow survivor and facilitator at the cancer care center she attended encouraged her to take up yoga as it had proven so helpful during her own battle. I would never have guessed that was what it would take to turn my 71-year-old mom into a devoted yogini.

    Studies have shown that a structured yoga practice during cancer treatment can radically improve physical symptoms such as pain and fatigue. Additionally, according to a Harvard Medical School Mental Health Letter, yoga reduces stress and anxiety which in turn reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and eases respiration. What’s more, patients who practiced yoga were also less sensitive to pain than subjects who did not, and therefore better able to tolerate treatment.

    Beyond purely the physical, research at Duke University has also shown how yoga, along with meditation, can alleviate depression, anxiety and insomnia to help patients become “emotionally fit.” Medical research is revealing what cancer centers and yogic practitioners have long known, namely that “patients at all stages of health, including cancer survivors, can benefit from yoga. And the benefits are both physical and emotional.”

    Here are four ways cancer patients can benefit:

    1. Yoga Helps Manage Depression, Fear and Anxiety:
    Depression and an acute fear of death can be prevalent in patients suffering through the emotional strain of a cancer diagnosis. Undergoing invasive or rigorous treatments may also heighten anxiety. Research has revealed that “Yogic breathing, defined as a manipulation of breath movement, has been shown to positively affect immune function, autonomic nervous system imbalances, and psychological or stress-related disorders.”

    In other words, guided breathing exercises enrich the respiratory system to regulate nerves that can deeply calm both mind and body. Yoga activates this relaxation response and can thus help relieve feelings of anxiety. With the aid of supported inversions to increase circulation and guided meditation/deep breathing to let go of grief, fear, and foreboding, you can actually re-pattern and calm your stress cycles. This therapeutic phenomenon is beautifully outlined by renowned yogi, ovarian cancer survivor, and Grokker Expert, Sierra Campbell in this video on reducing stress and restoring sleep cycles.

    2. The “Mood Boost” Effect:
    It’s a fact — exercise produces endorphins and endorphins improve your mood. A regular yoga practice, no matter how gentle the movements, allows the body to release endorphins so you can instantly experience a positive boost in mood.

    Several studies also suggest that yoga can increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating the nervous system and managing your mood and outlook. In addition, a regular yoga practice can boost self-esteem because you feel better about your appearance, strength, and overall physical condition.

    3. Help to Manage Physical Pain:
    Beside the well known and painful physiological side effects of cancer treatment, emotional stress can also produce physical pain. Moderate, appropriately modified physical activity aids in managing the physical pain that can be experienced during treatment, and research has shown that women who practice yoga specifically when in recovery report reduced pain and stress.

    Gentle guided movements, such as those outlined in this Everyday Health article, can help to expand range of motion, improve circulation, and relax muscle tension to speed up the recovery process.

    4. Yoga Community Can Provide Support:
    A support system is crucial to coping with the emotional toll of cancer, not only for those suffering from the disease but for their loved ones as well. There is great value in the support of community for those in any stage of remission, meeting and talking with others who understand what you’re going through. Whether it’s a group setting or an online meet-up, engaging with others in a similar situation can provide a sense of normalcy and security. My mother certainly benefitted from the community at the cancer care center where she took yoga and cooking classes. I certainly benefitted from my own yoga practice during the six months she lived with me and my family while undergoing her treatment. She is now nearly seven months cancer-free and I am grateful.

    So, even if you’re not in treatment yourself but have a loved one who is suffering, yoga can serve as a way to help you both deal with your emotional stress. You can take a class together or even practice at home with online videos. Either way, the calming effects of yoga provide a physically and emotionally beneficial activity you can do with each other, allowing you to connect on happy and positive terms.

    I hope you share these ideas with someone you love who may benefit from taking up the practice of yoga. Prioritizing daily yoga can be life affirming, whether you are a cancer patient, survivor or supporting someone who is fighting the battle of his or her life.

    Quoted from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lorna-borenstein-/4-ways-cancer-patients-ca_b_6094964.html

    How CBD Works

    How CBD works in the body and brain

    Originally published in O’Shaughnessy’s.

    Cannbidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, has generated significant interest among scientists and physicians in recent years—but how CBD exerts its therapeutic impact on a molecular level is still being sorted out. Cannabidiol is a pleiotropic drug in that it produces many effects through multiple molecular pathways. CBD acts through various receptor-independent channels and by binding with a number of non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels.

    Here are some of the ways that CBD confers its therapeutic effects.

    CBD and FAAH

    Unlike psychoactive THC, CBD has little binding affinity to either the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBD indirectly stimulates endogenous cannabinoid signaling by suppressing the enzyme fatty acid amide hydroxylase (FAAH)—the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, the first endocannabinoid discovered in the mammalian brain in 1992.

    Whereas the cannabinoid molecules found in cannabis are considered “exogenous ligands” to the cannabinoid (CB) receptor family, anandamide is an “endogenous” cannabinoid ligand—meaning it binds to one or more cannabinoid receptors and is found naturally inside the mammalian brain and body. Anandamide favors the CB1 receptor, which is concentrated in the brain and central nervous system. Because FAAH is involved in the metabolic breakdown of anandamide, less FAAH means more anandamide remains present in the body for a longer duration. More anandamide means greater CB1 activation.

    CBD enhances endocannabinoid tone by supressing FAAH.

    By inhibiting the enzyme that metabolizes and degrades anandamide, CBD enhances the body’s innate protective endocannabinoid response. At the same time, CBD opposes the action of THC at the CB1 receptor, thereby muting the psychoactive effects of THC.

    CBD also stimulates the release of 2-AG, another endocannabinoid that activates both CB1 and CB2 receptor. CB2 receptors are predominant in the peripheral nervous system and the immune system.

    The Vanilloid Receptor

    While CBD has little binding affinity for either of the two cannabinoid receptors, it has been shown to directly interact with other “G-protein-coupled” receptors and ion channels to confer a therapeutic effect. CBD, for example, binds to the TRPV-1 receptor, which is known to mediate pain perception, inflammation and body temperature.

    TRPV is the technical abbreviation for “transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V.” There are several dozen TRP receptor variants or subfamilies that mediate the effects of a wide range of medicinal herbs.

    Scientists also refer to TRPV-1 as the “vanilloid receptor,” named after the flavorful vanilla bean. Vanilla contains eugenol, an essential oil that has antiseptic and analgesic properties; it also helps to unclog blood vessels. Historically, the vanilla bean has been used as a folk cure for headaches.

    CBD is a TRPV-1 “agonist” or stimulant. This is likely one of the reasons why CBD-rich cannabis is an effective treatment for neuropathic pain.

    Capsaicin—the pungent compound in hot chili peppers—activates the TRVP-1 receptor. Anandamide, the endogenous cannabinoid, is also a TRPV-1 agonist.

    The Serotonin Receptor

    Jose Alexandre Crippa and his colleagues at the University of San Paulo in Brazil and at the King’s College in London have conducted pioneering research into CBD and the neural correlates of anxiety.

    At high concentrations, CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, thereby conferring an anti-depressant effect. This receptor is implicated in a range of biological and neurological processes, including (but not limited to) anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and vomiting.

    5-HT1A is a member of the family of 5-HT receptors, which are activated by the neurotransmitter serotonin. Found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, 5-HT receptors trigger various intracellular cascades of chemical messages to produce either an excitatory or inhibitory response, depending on the chemical context of the message.

    CBD triggers an inhibitory response that slows down 5-HT1A signaling. In comparison, LSD, mescaline, magic mushrooms, and several other hallucinogenic drugs activate a different type of 5-HT receptor that produces an excitatory response.

    The Adenosine Receptor

    CBD’s anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties may in part be attributable to its activation of the adenosine receptor. Adenosine receptors play significant roles in cardiovascular function, regulating myocardial oxygen consumption and coronary blood flow. The adenosine (A2A) receptor has broad anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body.

    Adenosine receptors also play a significant role in the brain. They down-regulate the release of other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate.

    GPR55

    Whereas cannabidiol activates the TRPV-1 vanilloid receptor, the A2A adenosine receptor, and the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, some studies indicate that CBD functions as an antagonist that blocks, or deactivates, another G protein-coupled receptor known as GPR55.

    GPR55 has been dubbed an “orphan receptor” because scientists are still not sure if it belongs to a larger family of receptors.

    GPR55 is widely expressed in the brain, especially in the cerebellum. It is involved in modulating blood pressure and bone density, among other physiological processes.

    GPR55 promotes osteoclast cell function, which facilitates bone reabsorption. Overactive GPR55 receptor signaling is associated with osteoporosis.

    GPR55, when activated, also promotes cancer cell proliferation, according to 2010 study by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai. This receptor is expressed in various types of cancer.

    CBD is a GPR55 antagonist, as University of Aberdeen scientist Ruth Ross disclosed at the 2010 conference of the International Cannabinoid Research Society in Lund, Sweden.

    By blocking GPR55 signaling, CBD may act to decrease both bone reabsorption and cancer cell proliferation.

    PPARs

    CBD also exerts an anti-cancer effect by activating PPARs [peroxisome proliferator activated receptors] that are situated on the surface of the cell’s nucleus. Activation of the receptor known as PPAR-gamma has an anti-proliferative effect as well as an ability to induce tumor regression in human lung cancer cell lines.

    PPAR-gamma activation degrades amyloid-beta plaque, a key molecule linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This is one of the reasons why cannabidiol, a PPAR-gamma agonist, may be a useful remedy for Alzheimer’s patients.

    PPAR receptors also regulate genes that are involved in energy homeostasis, lipid uptake, insulin sensitivity, and other metabolic functions. Diabetics, accordingly, may benefit from a CBD-rich treatment regimen.

    CBD’s enzyme-mediated activation of the PPAR-alpha receptor may have antipsychotic effects. Polymorphisms or mutations in the gene encoding PPAR-alpha can result in deficient PPAR-alpha signaling, which has been linked to schizophrenia. PPAR-alpha activation is both anti-inflammatory and can decrease dopamine release, thereby minimizing schizophrenic symptoms.

    The Benefits of Turmeric for Cancer Treatment

    benefits-of-turmeric

    Written by Ty Bollinger

    Curried dishes around the world wouldn’t be as delicious without turmeric. Turmeric is an orange-colored spice native to India and Indonesia, revered for its culinary and therapeutic benefits. Turmeric gives the curry its bright yellow or orange color and contributes to its peppery, warm, and mildly bitter taste. It also provides a tangy and ginger-like fragrance.

    Turmeric is a root crop known for its tough brown skin and bright orange flesh. For more than 5,000 years, this root crop has been cultivated in the tropical regions of Asia. During the 13th century, turmeric was introduced to western countries by Arab traders.

    Its popularity has slowly spread across the globe. Today, the leading producers of this aromatic spice are India, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Haiti, and Jamaica.

    Turmeric has been used in the Chinese and Indian pharmacopoeia for thousands of years. It is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, used in treating several conditions such as toothache, chest pain, urinary tract infection, flatulence, jaundice, menstrual discomforts, bruises, hemorrhage, and colic.

    Today, researchers are investigating the countless benefits of turmeric and it has shown incredible promise in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

    Curcumin versus Cancer

    Turmeric’s active ingredient is an extracted compound called curcumin. Studies have shown that curcumin helps prevent several forms of cancer including breast, lung, stomach, liver, and colon because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It stops the development of cancer by interfering with the cellular signaling aspects of the chronic disease.

    Lab results have found curcumin capable of…

    • Inhibiting COX-2, an enzyme that causes negative inflammation, which can lead to cancer.
    • Impeding vascular epithelial growth (a polypeptide that stimulates new blood supply) to starve cancer cells of their oxygen and fuel source.
    • Inducing a tumor suppressor gene.
    • Stopping metastasis (spread from one organ to another) of cancer cells.
    • Killing large cell B-cell lymphoma cells (the most common reason for non-Hodgkin lymphoma).
    • Preventing regrowth of cancer stem cells.

    Based on a 2011 study conducted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, researchers found that the curcumin extract effectively differentiates between cancer cells and normal cells while activating cancer cell death (apoptosis).
    Investigators concluded, “Curcumin exerts its biological influence through epigenetic modulation, a process that continues downstream staying one step ahead of adverse genetic influences.”

    One study was conducted to investigate how much curcumin colorectal patients could safely take. In the trial, participants took 3.6 grams, considered to be a high dose of curcumin. Results revealed that high doses of curcumin didn’t cause ill effects among colorectal patients.

    Curcumin is not well absorbed in the blood but it is absorbed well into the colon lining, giving it an advantage against cancerous tissues in the colon. It can help prevent prostate cancer because of its ability to interfere with the spread of cancer cells and inflammatory responses that are considered to be the precursors of cancer development. Curcumin also fights prostate cancer by reducing the expression of sex hormone receptors in the prostate gland.

    It has shown incredible promise in the prevention of cervical cancer, the leading cause of cancer death among women in developing nations. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory property blocks the factors that induce human papilloma virus and activates cancer cell death within the uterine lining.

    Incredible Benefits of Turmeric

    Turmeric is powerful and effective against more than cancer cells. Researchers are fascinated by the broad range of conditions it is capable of helping.

    • Combats arthritis. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties aids in managing arthritic conditions. Those who suffer from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have found relief by consuming turmeric on a regular basis, especially when eaten raw. Turmeric neutralizes harmful free radicals that can damage the cells of the body and lead to inflammation.
    • Regulates blood sugar. Turmeric has the ability to improve the effects of diabetic medications and help in controlling the disease. It reduces the risks of developing insulin resistance, a physiological condition in which the cells fail to respond to the normal actions of the insulin hormone.
    • Helps you lose weight. Adding turmeric to your diet helps increase the production of bile, a necessary factor in the breakdown of dietary fat. To help obtain your ideal body weight, a teaspoon of turmeric powder in your meals boosts this process. More efficient bile production aids in better digestion and prevents liver disease.
    • Makes wound heal faster. You can use turmeric as a natural disinfectant because of its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. To heal wounds, sprinkle turmeric powder on the affected area. It has also been shown that turmeric can be used to treat psoriasis and other skin conditions.
    • Prevents Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is believed to be caused by rampant inflammation within the brain. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory property removes accumulated plaque and fats in the brain, improving oxygen flow.

    The health benefits of turmeric have only been recognized by the medical community in the past decade but researchers are wasting no time in conducting trials on this amazing spice.

    Turmeric is for more than just curry. You can add turmeric powder to your classic egg salad, in soups, to season meats, and added to sauces and dressings. A little goes a long way and it adds a unique and delicious undertone to common foods.

    Add this spice to your grocery list, include it in your nutrition plan, and enjoy the far-reaching health benefits of turmeric right now.

    Quoted from: https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/benefits-turmeric-cancer-treatment/

    American Cancer Society on Cannabinoids

    Marijuana and Cancer

    medical-marijuana-card-main_full-300x291[1]

    Quoted from: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/chemotherapyeffects/marijuana-and-cancer

    Marijuana is the name given to the dried buds and leaves of varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, which can grow wild in warm and tropical climates throughout the world and be cultivated commercially. It goes by many names, including pot, grass, cannabis, weed, hemp, hash, marihuana, ganja, and dozens of others.

    Marijuana has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. Scientists have identified many biologically active components in marijuana. These are called cannabinoids. The two best studied components are the chemicals delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (often referred to as THC), and cannabidiol (CBD). Other cannabinoids are being studied.

    At this time, the US Drug Enforcement Administration lists marijuana and its cannabinoids as Schedule I controlled substances. This means that they cannot legally be prescribed, possessed, or sold under federal law. Whole or crude marijuana (including marijuana oil or hemp oil) is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any medical use. But the use of marijuana to treat some medical conditions is legal under state laws in many states.

    Dronabinol, a pharmaceutical form of THC, and a man-made cannabinoid drug called nabilone are approved by the FDA to treat some conditions.

    Marijuana

    Different compounds in marijuana have different actions in the human body. For example, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) seems to cause the “high” reported by consumers of marijuana, and also can help relievepain and nausea, reduce inflammation, and can act as an antioxidant. It can also lead to feelings of anxiety and paranoia. Cannabidiol (CBD) can help treat seizures, can reduce anxiety and paranoia, and can counteract the “high” caused by THC.

    Different cultivars (strains or types) and even different crops of marijuana plants can have varying amounts of these and other active compounds. This means that marijuana can have different effects based on the strain used.

    The effects of marijuana also vary depending on how marijuana compounds enter the body.

    When taken by mouth, the THC is absorbed poorly and can take hours to be absorbed. Once it’s absorbed, it’s processed by the liver, which produces a second psychoactive compound (a substance that acts on the brain and changes mood or consciousness) that affects the brain differently than THC.

    When marijuana is smoked or vaporized (inhaled), THC enters the bloodstream and goes to the brain quickly. The second psychoactive compound is produced in small amounts, and so has less effect. The effects of inhaled marijuana fade faster than marijuana taken by mouth.

    How can marijuana affect symptoms of cancer?

    A number of small studies of smoked marijuana found that it can be helpful in treating nausea and vomiting fromcancer chemotherapy.

    A few studies have found that inhaled (smoked or vaporized) marijuana can be helpful treatment of neuropathic pain(pain caused by damaged nerves).

    Smoked marijuana has also helped improve food intake in HIV patients in studies.

    There are no studies in people of the effects of marijuana oil or hemp oil.

    Studies have long shown that people who took marijuana extracts in clinical trials tended to need less pain medicine.

    More recently, scientists reported that THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells growing in laboratory dishes. Some animal studies also suggest certain cannabinoids may slow growth and reduce spread of some forms of cancer.

    There have been some early clinical trials of cannabinoids in treating cancer in humans and more studies are planned. While the studies so far have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in treating cancer, they do not show that they help control or cure the disease.

    Relying on marijuana alone as treatment while avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences.

    Cannabinoid drugs

    There are 2 chemically pure drugs based on marijuana compounds that have been approved in the US for medical use.

    Dronabinol (Marinol®) is a gelatin capsule containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that’s approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy as well as weight loss and poor appetite in patients with AIDS.

    Nabilone (Cesamet®) is a synthetic cannabinoid that acts much like THC. It can be taken by mouth to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy when other drugs have not worked.

    Nabiximols is a cannabinoid drug still under study in the US. It’s a mouth spray made up of a whole-plant extract with THC and cannabidiol (CBD) in an almost one to one mix. It’s available in Canada and parts of Europe to treat pain linked to cancer, as well as muscle spasms and pain from multiple sclerosis (MS). It’s not approved in the US as of 2015, but it’s being tested in clinical trials to see if it can help a number of conditions.

    How can cannabinoid drugs affect symptoms of cancer?

    Based on a number of studies, dronabinol can be helpful for reducing nausea and vomiting linked to chemotherapy.

    Dronabinol has also been found to help improve food intake and prevent weight loss in patients with HIV. In studies of cancer patients, though, it wasn’t better than placebo or another drug (megestrol acetate).

    Nabiximols has shown promise for helping people with cancer pain that’s unrelieved by strong pain medicines, but it hasn’t been found to be helpful in every study done. Research is still being done on this drug.

    Side effects of cannabinoid drugs

    Like many other drugs, the prescription cannabinoids, dronabinol and nabilone, can cause side effects and complications.

    Some people have trouble with increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure (especially when standing up), dizziness or lightheadedness, and fainting. These drugs can cause drowsiness as well as mood changes or a feeling of being “high” that some people find uncomfortable. They can also worsen depression, mania, or other mental illness. Some patients taking nabilone in studies reported hallucinations. The drugs may increase some effects of sedatives, sleeping pills, or alcohol, such as sleepiness and poor coordination. Patients have also reported problems with dry mouth and trouble with recent memory.

    Older patients may have more problems with side effects and are usually started on lower doses.

    People who have had emotional illnesses, paranoia, or hallucinations may find their symptoms are worse when taking cannabinoid drugs.

    Talk to your doctor about what you should expect when taking one of these drugs. It’s a good idea to have someone with you when you first start taking one of these drugs and after any dose changes.

    What does the American Cancer Society say about the use of marijuana in people with cancer?

    The American Cancer Society supports the need for more scientific research on cannabinoids for cancer patients, and recognizes the need for better and more effective therapies that can overcome the often debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment. The Society also believes that the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance by the US Drug Enforcement Administration imposes numerous conditions on researchers and deters scientific study of cannabinoids. Federal officials should examine options consistent with federal law for enabling more scientific study on marijuana.

    Medical decisions about pain and symptom management should be made between the patient and his or her doctor, balancing evidence of benefit and harm to the patient, the patient’s preferences and values, and any laws and regulations that may apply.