Integrating cannabis into palliative cancer care promises to improve quality of life, reduce distress and suffering, and provide hope to patients and families facing terminal illnesses. Right now, you can buy weed meant for medicinal or recreational purposes from different online dispensaries. The experience of living with a cancer patient and accompanying him to the end of his life is becoming common today.
Almost all of us have experienced a cancer diagnosis with greater or lesser proximity: parents, siblings, friends, relatives, or, unfortunately, also children. The disease and its treatment cause much anguish, depression, fear of pain, and the side effects of therapies in adult patients. You can add the physical effects to all these psychological effects: nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep disorders, constipation, and pain.
Oncology palliative care is aimed at improving these physical effects. Antiemetics for nausea, morphine for pain, lorazepam for sleep, laxatives. When the end is near, high-dose morphine leaves the patient in a lethargic state, unable to be aware of the future or face death with serenity and acceptance.
Cannabis as a Holistic Medicine
According to medical advocates for incorporating cannabis into palliative care, cannabinoids play an essential role in the future. In some countries such as the United States and Canada, the use of pure THC and CBD as therapy has been legalized, but many patients prefer non-legalized cannabis herb preparations grown by themselves, their caretakers, or local growers.
Why do patients prefer consuming cannabis to pure preparations? The explanation would be in the synergy that is established between cannabinoids and other plant compounds. The two best-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. Each one has characteristic effects: THC acts on a psychological and perceptual level, and CBD works on a physical level.
CBD also can soften the psychoactive effects of THC. The cannabis plant would help patients physically, alleviate pain and other discomforts, and psychologically, reducing anxiety, stress, and fear.
Palliation of Physical Symptoms
Various studies have been carried out on the use of cannabis preparations for cancer palliative care. In Israel, an 8-week study involved 131 patients. The authors noted that all symptoms related to cancer or cancer treatment improved significantly, including nausea, mood disorders, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, weight loss, constipation, sexual function, itching, sleep disorders, and pain.
Palliation of Psychological Symptoms
Some of the effects associated with the consumption of THC would be euphoria, the absence of feelings of anguish or bad memories, increased sensory capacities, and spiritual perception.
According to medical advocates of cannabis as a palliative, this mild euphoria and an increased sense of well-being from THC could very well play an important therapeutic role for patients facing the despair of a terminal illness and loss of function.
The third area of potential benefit could be in increased awareness and sensory perceptions, with a greater appreciation for music, tastes, scents, and other aesthetic pleasures.…