The original discussion we had on #flowertothepeople with Lurie Favors received such powerful feedback that we immediately decided it needed a part two. Not that a topic as important and complex as breast cancer could be addressed in two segments, but there was an obvious need for a bit more information. In the complex world of breast cancer care, the role of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) remains a subject of significant interest and a lot of myths. It's very important not to fall victim to mis-information (well intended or purposeful) or grifters looking to make a few bucks off someone’s suffering. Let’s take a look at some common myths:
Myth 1: CBD and THC Cure Breast Cancer
Misconception abounds, suggesting that CBD and THC have the curative power to obliterate breast cancer. However, it's crucial to distinguish between anecdotal claims and established scientific evidence. As of now, there is no conclusive research that supports the notion that CBD and THC alone can cure breast cancer. The truth lies in the ongoing preclinical research and exploratory studies which are far from definitive.
*Gem:* According to the National Cancer Institute, studies suggest that cannabinoids may inhibit cancer cell growth, but much more research is needed to fully understand their potential in treating breast cancer.
Myth 2: High THC Concentrations Are Essential
The myth persists that higher concentrations of THC are the key to effective breast cancer treatment. While THC has garnered significant attention for its potential therapeutic benefits, it's important to note that the entourage effect—the combined influence of various compounds within the cannabis plant, including CBD, terpenes, and flavonoids—may contribute to its effectiveness. A balanced CBD-to-THC ratio might offer advantages without the psychoactive side effects.
*Gem:* Research published in the journal "Frontiers in Pharmacology" highlights the significance of the entourage effect, indicating that CBD and other compounds may enhance the potential therapeutic effects of THC.
The Holistic Role of CBD and THC in Well-Being
Breast cancer is not just a physical battle; it encompasses emotional and psychological struggles as well. CBD and THC can play a pivotal role in addressing these aspects of well-being:
2. Intimacy Support: The impact of breast cancer on body image and sexual health can be significant. CBD can provide relief from discomfort, potentially enhancing intimacy and re-establishing emotional connections.
3. Spirituality and Mindfulness: For some patients, spirituality is an integral part of their coping strategy. CBD and THC may foster mindfulness and spiritual well-being, aiding patients in navigating their emotional journey.
*Gem:* A study published by Harvard Health Publishing suggests that CBD may have a beneficial impact on anxiety and sleep disorders.
Synthetic THC (Marinol) and Its Role in Cancer Care
Marinol, a synthetic form of THC, holds its own unique place in cancer care. Marinol is primarily utilized to alleviate the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and stimulate appetite in cases of extreme weight loss due to chronic illnesses. Here's how it differs from natural THC:
- Purity and Precision: Marinol is meticulously manufactured to guarantee purity and consistency in dosages, in stark contrast to the naturally occurring variation in cannabis plant chemistry.
- Administration: Typically, Marinol is administered in pill form, offering precise dosing and a controlled route of intake.
-According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Marinol has been used effectively in addressing various symptoms related to cancer and AIDS, emphasizing its utility in symptom management.
GEM: Legal Status: Marinol has received FDA approval as a prescription medication, ensuring a regulated and lawful means of access. Conversely, natural cannabis legality varies across regions.
Taking Care of the Caregivers
Care providers who support breast cancer patients are not immune to the challenges that come with the territory. These challenges include emotional strain, stress, and the vital need for self-care. CBD and THC can be valuable allies for caregivers:
1. Stress Management: Caregivers frequently experience elevated stress levels. CBD's potential to promote relaxation and stress reduction can provide caregivers with a means to maintain their well-being.
3. Self-Care: Care providers must prioritize self-care to provide the best support. CBD and THC can form a part of the self-care regimen, supporting their emotional and physical well-being.
*Gem:* According to Cancer.gov, it's crucial for caregivers to focus on self-care and stress management to maintain their health and capacity to provide effective care.
Wrapping it all up:
While a lot is still unknown there is enough that we do know to see that there are many potential benefits of incorporating CBD and THC into your breast cancer care program. We know these compounds have the potential to ease pain, emotional burdens, enhance intimacy, and support spiritual well-being for patients. Caregivers can also benefit from adding CBD and THC to their personal self care routine.
Long term, the more open and honest discussions we have about the roles of CBD and THC- the better patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals can help make informed decisions that prioritize overall well-being throughout the breast cancer journey.
Some Extra Gems:
*CBD and THC may interact with some medications, so it is important to talk to your doctor before using them.
*It is important to start with a low dose and increase gradually to avoid any adverse effects.
1. Cannabis and Cannabinoids
2. Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don't
3.Frontiers in Pharmacology - Cannabis for Cancer: An Insight into its Mechanisms of Action
4. U.S. National Library of Medicine- Marinol
5. National Cancer Institute - Caring for the Caregiver