Cancer is a general name for various types of malignant neoplasms, or malignant tumors – groups of cells in human tissue with tendency for abnormal and uncontrollable growth. As cancer is in fact a collective name for a group of different diseases, its general symptoms vary significantly and are hard to define. However, some common symptoms include pain, continuous fatigue, fast and spontaneous weight loss, chronic cough etc.
With statistics of third-leading cause of death in the U.S., cancer is feared by many as virtually untreatable disease, which is not quite correct. Several hundred types of cancers are known, of which the majority can be successfully treated today with different methods. However, some of these methods, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy are often harsh to the human body and cause severe side effects. Clinical research of marijuana influence on cancer-affected cells, which has been ongoing for more than three decades, shows that medical marijuana has cancer-fighting properties. Cannabinoids, contained in marijuana, have been shown to exhibit anti-cancer effects in reducing the tumors' tendency to grow.
Moreover, recent cancer studies show that medical marijuana can act as analgesic, relieving the cancer-induced pain, which is considered to be the most sufferable symptom. And, as with other uses of medical marijuana, the mild sedative effect helps calm emotions, and get rid of psychological stress.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are comprehensive methods of drug treatment that involve targeting cancer cells and killing them with a regimented use of a variety of synthetic drugs. THC (the main chemical component of cannabis) is a natural antiemetic, which has been reported to decrease the pain associated with chemo- and radiotherapy agents. Also, such harsh treatments are frequently accompanied by decreased appetite. Lack of appetite in turn causes the person to suffer from malnutrition. Appetite stimulation is one of the most well-known effects of marijuana, and is helpful in treating a variety of conditions. Thus, smoking medical marijuana can be used to wear off the side effects of more severe cancer treatment, maintain healthy appetite throughout the treatment course, and avoid the wasting away that many patients suffer from.