Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Canada. It is a disease in which certain cells of the body divide uncontrollably. This uncontrollable division of cells leads to lumps or cell masses known as tumors. Cancer can start in any part of the body. Malignant tumors can invade neighboring tissues. Cancer is caused by a genetic error within the cells which then leads to the uncontrollable divisions; this genetic change can either be inherited or can occur due to certain environmental causes such as chemicals or radiation.
Symptoms and severity will vary between the various types of cancers; some have no symptoms, while others have more severe symptoms such as: persistent cough, change in bowel or urine, anemia, abnormal lumps, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, pain.
However, some cancers are asymptomatic and many of the side effects that are associated with chemotherapy and radiation are actually the cause of uncomfortable symptoms such as: skin damage, edema, pain, tiredness and fatigue, anemia, appetite loss, thrombocytopenia (bleeding and bruising), constipation or diarrhea, hair loss, infection, lymphedema, nausea/vomiting.
Due to its ability to activate the CB1 receptors in our bodies, THC works wonders for those struggling with appetite, nausea, vomiting, and pain. Indica-dominant strains with THC help relax the body and are used to combat insomnia for those struggling with night time pain and discomfort. Unlike with other pain and sleep medications, there is no risk of overdose or addiction.
For those first starting off with cannabis, CBD can be used for inflammation, stress, anxiety, and depression. Though CBD itself is not as strong of an analgesic as THC, beginners can work their way up over time with different combinations of THC and CBD. Cannabis can help improve the overall quality of life for someone battling cancer.
THC has shown to be able to kill cancerous cells. However, this has only been done in laboratory studies with petri dishes; these studies are limited and have not yet been applied to human testing. Therefore, those treating cancer with cannabis should always consult their doctor. There are claims, though, that treatment with cannabis, specifically with RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) has helped cure people’s cancer, and there are many anecdotal studies which support this, particularly for skin cancer when applied topically.
The most studied benefits of cannabis have been for symptom management, whether it be side effects of radiation or chemo therapies, or symptoms from the cancer itself.
Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), sometimes known as Phoenix Tears, is an extremely concentrated cannabis oil, with high levels of THC (55% – 60% and up to 10%- 12% CBD) that has been widely used for the treatment of cancer. Depending on the cancer, RSO is either taken orally or topically. The prescribed treatment with RSO lasts 90 days and the patient’s goal is to gradually consume 60 grams of RSO within this time.
Oral treatment with RSO
Week 1: Start with three evenly spaced doses per day, each about half the size of a grain of rice.
Week 2 – 5: Double your dose every four days.
Week 5 – 12: Take one gram of RSO per day until the full 60g has been consumed. Patients should be taking about 8 – 9 rice sized drops every 8 hours, until treatment is completed.
Topical Treatment with Rick Simpson Oil:
Apply a drop of RSO onto the affected area. Completely cover with a bandage and keep covered for 3 – 4 days. Within this time only change bandage if necessary. Repeat this until spots have disappeared.
As stated above, the side effects of chemo and radiation therapy are very intense, and already doctors are prescribing cannabis to help those suffering from treatment side effects.
Though THC does have temporary psychoactive effects, it provides strong relief from pain and general discomfort with zero risk of overdose or addiction, unlike opioids or many other painkillers. High THC products help stimulate appetite, and control weight loss, ease nausea and vomiting, as well as help those who struggle with sleep. THC stimulates the CB1 receptors which influence sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and pain; therefore, it can confer many benefits during the treatment of cancer.
CBD on the other hand is used for treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression, all of which are psychological disorders that are often associated with serious and life threatening illnesses. We recommend ingesting cannabis products orally either via edibles, oils, or tincture drops. This will provide more of a long-lasting bodily effect and provide widespread relief.