Why is it that in 2017 an estimated 255,180 women are expected to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer but that medical marijuana is not widely considered an important ally in the treatment of those patients? Marijuana has been used for hundreds of years and is generally considered a safe drug, despite its classification as a Class 1 drug in the United States, the same classification as heroin and cocaine. In the 28 states where it can be prescribed by doctors, it is known to be of help to breast cancer patients as an anti-nausea treatment for those undergoing chemotherapy as a useful part of pain management. Halan Golan writes in her research article that, “In contrast, physicians caring for cancer patients in the U.S. recommend medicinal cannabis for symptom management. A survey conducted in 2013 among 1446 physicians on their attitudes regarding the legalization of medical marijuana use found that 76% approved using it for a medical purpose.”
The lack of acceptance of medical marijuana as a legitimate aid to breast cancer patinets is partly because medical marijuana gets a bad rap. Most people do not understand that high grade marijuana is completely different to the marijuana people are smoking to feel the “high”. The cannabinoid has two active components: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the most active component of marijuana. In addition to THC, cannabis has high concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which has a non-psychotropic effect. In the article What Should We Tell Our Patients about Marijuana (Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa)? Written by Joseph Pizzorno, it states, “THC is the most psychoactive component of cannabis and alters cognition primarily through the activation of CB receptors on presynaptic axons, though several other mechanisms have been identified.” THC, however, is considered to be the most beneficial treatment for anti-nausea and pain management in the care of breast cancer patients. There are misconceptions about how people consume marijuana and that any form of smoking is bad because people believe that smoking gives you cancer; however, certainly in terminal cases, a cancer patients well-being and their comfort is important in their last days. It is very interesting that people are not doing research on the benefits of the plant because it is classified as a Class 1 drug. Other drugs that are also considered Class 1 drugs would be the most harmful, toxic and unnatural drugs like heroin and cocaine. Medical institutions and research facilities receive a part of their funding from the government as well as private donors, and it seems unlikely that until the current classification of marijuana as a Class 1 drug is changed, that the necessary funds with be forthcoming. The promise of medical marijuana is not receiving the attention it deserves due to big pharma companies not wanting to invest money for research specifically devoted to understanding the potential of marijuana.
One wonders the reasons...