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Medical Marijuana for Cancer

Doctors will commonly prescribe patients with cancer medical marijuana as an aid to not only help combat the disease itself - where cells grow, divide, or multiply at extremely fast rates and then damage healthy tissues in the body - but also to help alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. 

Chemotherapy has been known to produce many difficult side effects, including the vomiting, nausea, and loss of appetite associated with this treatment for cancer. Medical marijuana has been proven to help reduce the feeling of nausea and vomiting while increasing appetite, which helps fight anorexia related to the types of harsh treatments patients undergo with cancer. Marijuana studies have also shown that the use of medical cannabis has a positive effect in regards to inhibiting tumor growth in leukemia and breast cancer, as well as the invasion of cervical cancer and lung cancer cells. 

The FDA has authorized both Dronabinol and Nabilone - two cannabinoids - for treating cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and dealing with the side effects of nausea and vomiting. Used by patients with cancer for over a decade, Dronabinol contains THC in the form of a gelatin capsule that can be given to cancer patients to lessen these above symptoms. Similarly, Nabilone - a synthetic cannabinoid - can also be taken orally and has properties close to THC, which alleviates nausea from chemotherapy treatments.

Another benefit to using medical cannabis for cancer is uplifting a cancer patient’s mood. Dealing with the emotions and uncertainty that come with the diagnosis affects the overall mood and well-being of patients with cancer. Medical marijuana has been shown to decrease anxiety and even elevate and increase a person’s mood; therefore, it can help aid in relieving this side effect of cancer.

If you are a cancer patient in the state of Illinois, you can apply for a medical marijuana card, which will allow you to purchase medical cannabis for cancer. 

**Ask your doctor before using medical marijuana for cancer treatments or symptoms associated with chemotherapy. This is not medical advice for cancer patients.

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