How Does Marijuana Help Cancer Patients?

As the legalization of marijuana continues to grow in the number of states allowing it, it is easy to forget that the medical use of marijuana spread first, reducing resistance and political opposition to everyone being able to use the drug. Many people know someone who went through cancer treatment that involved marijuana, but they might not know just how does marijuana help cancer patients exactly? Keep reading to learn out 5 specific benefits:

1) It can minimize their number of medications: While it varies from patient to patient, and is very dependent upon the treatment regimen they are going through, the number of medications a cancer patient might have can be pretty high. As the number of prescriptions a patient has goes up, the chances of cross-effects and interactions grows. Even in an otherwise healthy person these can be dangerous, but in a body weakened by cancer, and possibly also the treatment, such problems can prove debilitating and even fatal. If a marijuana regimen is able to eliminate two or more drugs from the overall cocktail, or at least reduce the dosage and frequency, then it can seriously improve the safety of that patient. Given that marijuana often has few to no side effects of its own, it’s also a safer alternative to many medicines in its own right.

2) It can alleviate the nausea and physical pain of treatment: Some cancer treatments wreak havoc on the human body, causing high levels of discomfort and even pain. Marijuana can help combat the ill feelings that someone gets from their chemotherapy or surgical recovery, meaning they’re more likely to stick with everything they are supposed to do.

3) It helps them manage their stress: Cancer is scary, and almost always puts a person’s mortality into question, even if prognosis looks good. While dealing with the existential crisis it creates, a cancer patient also needs to have the discipline and mental stamina to be a good patient through their therapy. Good stress management is always a must for a person’s health, but especially critical in a stage of life such as this.

4) It gives them something relaxing to do: A cancer patient’s day might be filled with treatment, boredom, and visitation from friends and family that they want to put a brave face on for. Their time with their marijuana, especially with other patients, might the only time of day that they can actually relax and unwind through the ordeal.

5) It’s cheaper than a lot of medications and treatment options: In addition to sometimes being safer than other medications, marijuana can save the patient money in being cheaper than other medications. Some prescription medications are notoriously expensive, especially if they are still patent-or trademark-protected and only manufactured in limited quantities because they pertain only to specific diseases or rare conditions.

The next time you wonder yourself or hear someone speculating whether or not if or how marijuana helps cancer patients, keep these 5 benefits in mind.