Is cannabis a solution for breast cancer patients’ chemo side effects? | Turn 420
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Is cannabis a solution for breast cancer patients’ chemo side effects?



Whenever and however a cancer patient uses cannabis, Roeland urges caution. A patient may feel no immediate effects, then consume another edible, doubling the dose and producing extreme disorientation or a distressingly long high, he said. Accidentally ingesting, inhaling or absorbing too much cannabis can mean the difference between temporary pain relief and a medical emergency.

“If you want to try it for a symptom, it’s probably OK, but you need to start very low and you need to be clear about what symptom you want to alleviate. You want to be talking to your doctor,” Roeland said. “If you’re using it, let’s try to use it safely. If you have not used it before, using it while you’re on cancer therapy could be risky because your body is so weak and there are many drug-drug interactions.”

Hickock said that some cancer patients do come in and say up front that they don’t want to get high, they just want the pain-relieving or nausea-quelling aspects of marijuana use. He said he’s careful when counseling cancer patients who want to ease into cannabis use and would never go against a medical doctor’s advice. Some strains may be contraindicated because they affect blood pressure, suppress appetite or increase anxiety. Petersen said he has seen varying responses, depending on the person.

“Based on the patients I’ve seen, 95 percent of them, it helps with stress and anxiety, where 5 percent say that it makes anxiety worse,” Petersen said. “If you’re using it medicinally, you should know what your threshold is.”

Before ingesting, smoking or vaping anything, Hickock stressed the importance of using a “clean product,” meaning marijuana and marijuana derivatives without residual solvents and that have been cultivated, harvested and processed responsibly without pesticides.

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