Medical Marijuana and Cancer
Marijuana comes from the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant, which has been used for centuries as part of herbal remedies for many illnesses.
Cannabis is illegal in the U.S. under federal law, but the use of medical marijuana is legal in many states. Some studies have found that it might help ease some of the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment.
Marijuana has compounds called cannabinoids, which can cause drug-like effects on the body. The two most active and most studied are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC causes marijuana's "high" feeling. It also may help ease pain, nausea, and inflammation.
CBD may ease pain, inflammation, and anxiety without causing the high.
Studies have looked at the possible benefits medical marijuana can have on cancer symptoms and treatment side effects.
Nausea and vomiting. A few small studies have found that smoking marijuana can ease these side effects of chemotherapy. The FDA has also approved dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros) and nabilone (Cesamet), man-made cannabinoids, to treat these symptoms when other nausea medications don’t work.
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