Marijuana, which comes from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant, is a psychoactive drug that has both recreational and medical uses.
Cannabis has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years and has only been subject to legal restrictions for the past 80 years in the US. It contains cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), that can have many beneficial effects throughout the body.
THC is associated with the psychotropic “high” marijuana provides, but CBD isn’t. Both, however, are known to have medicinal properties such as pain relief and inflammation reduction.
There are also symptom relief differences, based on plant type. Sativa plants, which grow tall with thin leaves, increase focus and alertness, and are generally reserved for daytime use.
Indica plants, however, are short, bushy plants that tend to facilitate relaxation, so they are usually reserved for use at night.
The Endocannabinoid System
The human brain and central nervous system contain numerous endogenous cannabinoid receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is involved in many physiological processes including memory, mood, appetite and pain sensation. The receptors in the ECS are naturally activated by the neurotransmitter Anandamide, but can also be triggered by plant-based cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. The ECS, whether triggered by the body’s own endocannabinoids, or plant-based cannabinoids, can have the following effects:
- relieving pain
- alleviating fatigue
- promoting sleep
- increasing appetite
- alleviating nausea
- decreasing anxiety
Common Symptoms of Cancer
The symptoms of cancer, and its treatments are as varied as there are types of cancer. However, there are a few symptoms that are pretty universal. Patients can suffer from pain, fatigue, nausea, and sleep problems. These are all symptoms that medical marijuana can help to alleviate.
Strains of Marijuana Useful for Fighting Cancer Symptoms
There are many strains of medical marijuana available and, based on differences in cannabinoid (THC and CBD) contents, provide relief for certain symptoms experienced by cancer patients. There are also differences between the individual qualities provided by sativa and indica strains that should also be considered. Below are a few strains that are known to be useful in alleviating each symptom.
Both THC and CBD have pain relieving properties and they complement each other well. The maximum pain relief would come from a strain that is high in both. However, to get pain relief without psychotropic effects you may want to choose a strain that has both, but with a high CBD content and low THC. A couple of strains that provide this pain double-punch are:
- ACDC (0.5-1% THC, 16-24% CBD) – This sativa-dominant hybrid offers a 1:20 ratio (of THC:CBD) which provides pain relief and maximum relaxation, as well as increasing focus and uplifting mood, with minimal psychotropic effects.
- Blackberry Kush (12-14% THC, 0.1-1% CBD) – A mostly indica strain, this offers strong relief of stress and insomnia, and moderate help with nausea, in addition to being a strong pain reliever.
When fatigue is the problem, sativa strains, which are known for their ability to boost energy, are going to be your best option. Two top choices for fighting fatigue are:
- Fruity Juice (16-20% THC, 0-1% CBD) – This sativa-dominant strain offers powerful head and body effects, providing both mental relaxation and physical energizing. This strain was formerly known as Juicy Fruit.
- Harlequin (5-10% THC, 25-50% CBD) – This hybrid strain, which is also sativa dominant, offers alertness and relief from fatigue. However, due to its consistent 5:1 ratio of CBD:THC, it is also an effective pain and anxiety reliever.
Nausea relief is one of the longest-standing and most heavily tested medical marijuana treatments. Both THC and CBD can provide rapid alleviation of nausea. These strains can provide relief:
- Berry White (16-25% THC, 0-10% CBD) – An indica-dominant hybrid, provides both rapid relief from nausea and nearly instantaneous euphoria.
- Chemdawg (15-30% THC, 0-10% CBD) -This hybrid provides rapid relief from both nausea and vomiting, while providing full-body relaxation.
As previously mentioned, indica strains are the key to promoting relaxation and sleep. As a rule, inhaling provides faster relief but edibles help to stay asleep longer. Here are a couple of effective choices to alleviate insomnia:
- Skywalker (13-23% THC, 0-1% CBD) – This indica-dominant hybrid helps patients relax into sleep as well as knocking out pain and anxiety.
- Granddaddy Purple (17-23% THC, 0-1% CBD) – This indica cross offers a fusion of euphoria and relaxation that can alleviate the tossing and turning of insomnia for the duration of its effects.
Call our Medical Marijuana Clinic in Boca Raton today for your evaluation with Dr. Stratt.