The Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Cancer and Chronic Pain Treatment

Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Cancer and Chronic Pain Treatment, Med Red CrossThe positive effects medical marijuana has on patients suffering from cancer or chronic pain is the subject of much debate throughout this country. Many supporters tout its ability to ease chronic pain where other pain medication drugs have failed, while others say there’s just not enough known about the potentially harmful side effects of this substance, which is still illegal in many states. Scientific research is still ongoing but the general consensus within the medical community and those suffering from the debilitating effects of pain associated with their disease is that it works.


This form of pain management — now legalized in about half the states in this country — is used in precise doses to relieve nausea and pain, and increase appetite in those suffering from chronic diseases such as cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Approved for this use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), medical marijuana is also thought by many supporters to contain anti-bacterial properties, with an ability to reduce tumor growth and enlarge the airways to help those who have asthma. Whether smoked, made into hot tea or eaten with other foods, medical marijuana can relieve pain that cancer patients and others live with on a daily basis. Many are going through chemotherapy which can induce nausea and vomiting.

Medical marijuana can suppress this urge where other drugs have not worked as promised. A mouth spray version of medical marijuana, not yet approved here in the States, is thought to help relieve muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis. Recent studies have shown the inhaled marijuana can help relieve neuropathic pain, which is essentially pain brought on by damaged nerves, as well as improve the food intake of HIV patients who struggle with loss of appetite. Studies have also found that patients who use medical marijuana have a far less need to take conventional pain medication, thereby reducing the negative side effects of those meds, particularly to the liver.


The long and short of it is that more Americans are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana than criminalizing the substance, according to the Huffington Post. A recent poll says 58 percent of Americans say the plant should be legal. There are several reasons why. For starters, this substance has never been the subject of any recorded overdose when compared with other deadly illicit drugs or even prescription pain killers. It’s even been found to be less addictive than coffee, with a low risk of abuse. It can help you sleep better and alleviate a host of medical ailments including chronic pain due to cancer.

The Politics

Unfortunately, as with anything else, politics gets in the way sometimes of pushing through new legislation that counters the historic view of marijuana being “bad.” Famed neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta is exploring these stigmas of marijuana in his research around the world and resulting documentary called “Weed.” He explores what emerging scientific findings are proving about the positive benefits of this substance to the body and the brain in particular, helping others understand how the old school political system may be hindering patients from getting what he feels is a low risk pain-killing benefit from a plant that occurs in nature.


With more and more states passing legislation allowing the use of marijuana and medical marijuana, there are also more awareness-generating initiatives underway that highlight the struggles people with cancer and other deadly illnesses go through, including the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Movember and Livestrong. These organizations and events help spread awareness of the devastation of cancer and other chronic diseases, sparking ongoing conversations about what can be done to help.

The benefits of medical marijuana for chronic pain relief are well-documented. However, there is a still a long way to go.