Let’s start with some excellent news: As of 2015, cancer in the United States is on a steady decline. According to the American Cancer Society, since its peak in 1991, cancer occurrences among Americans fell 26 percent, resulting in 2.4 million cancer-related deaths avoided during that time. Furthermore, the last decade of data available reveals that new cancer diagnoses rates fell two percent in men while remaining the same rate in women.
Now the negative news: While the above figures are much to celebrate, over 1.7 million new cancer cases are expected in 2018 – with nearly 610,000 expected to be in the U.S. Furthermore, certain ethnicities, ages, and even states find themselves with a higher likelihood for developing cancer. As such, a significant number of patients in America and beyond continue to struggle with cancer treatment options that leave them in pain, unable to eat, depressed and other terrible symptoms. In recent years, patients turned to medical cannabis to address these symptoms. Now, with medical cannabis expanding across the country, more patients are asking which are the most ideal medical cannabis strains for cancer treatment assistance.
Popular Medical Cannabis Strains for Cancer Symptoms
We’re going to start off with a helpful disclaimer: this is not a recommended guide to which strains cancer patients should use for their symptoms. Instead, treat this as an introduction to some of the more popular options on the market. This is an important point to remember as each person reacts differently to each strain of cannabis. What may work for you may not work for the next person dealing with the same type of cancer. Be sure to discuss with your medical team to determine which course of action is best for you.
That said, the side effects of cancer are immense and trying on a person. While numerous symptoms can arise, these five sections encompass those which trouble patients the most, and which strains are popular choices for treatment:
Cancer pain can either be acute or chronic and affect a person’s nerves, bones and soft tissue. Additionally, patients can experience phantom pains as well as pain from an organ in their body, in a different area of the body, which is called referred pain.
- Harlequin: A CBD strong sativa whose popularity as a non-psychoactive strain came about before the rise of Charlotte’s Web and other CBD-rich strains.
- Blackberry Kush: Leafly says this indica “crushes pain with a tidal wave of full-body euphoria and physical relief.” Unlike Harlequin which gives you a clear head through the day, Blackberry Kush is regarded as an end of the night strain.
- ACDC: A hybrid that Marijuana Doctors calls “perfect for avoiding the psychoactive side effects of THC,” is considered one of the best at easing pain for most consumers.
Stomach issues are some of the worst pains cancer patients endure. By taking cannabis, our endocannabinoid system has the potential to ease the effects brought on by chemotherapy and other conditions which cause nausea. Some of the more popular strains include:
- Super Lemon Haze: Patients have found success with Super Lemon Haze as it is a sativa that can ease stomach troubles while providing the energy needed to get through the day.
- Northern Lights: Those in need of stomach relief and relaxation in the evening have found success with this indica strain. Leafly even considered it “some of the most potent herbal medicines available for sour stomachs.”
- Blueberry Diesel: Not looking for an energy burst but not ready to fall asleep? Then, Blueberry Diesel and its knack for lifting spirits without affecting energy levels may be a strain to consider.
Loss of Appetite
Cancer, like HIV/AIDS and eating disorders, is one of the worst medical conditions to affect a person’s appetite. In cancer’s case, certain types affecting the body may directly cause the loss of hunger. In other cases, it is brought on by chemotherapy and other treatments. Some of the more recommended strains for this include:
- Granddaddy Purple: Granddaddy Purple is a top choice indica strain which exudes grape and berry aromas. In addition to helping with appetites, patients have reported declined stress and pain levels as well.
- Bubba Kush: Another indica, Bubba Kush is known for putting people at ease while delivering hints of chocolate and coffee in its flower. Since the mid ’90s Bubba Kush has helped ease the minds of many, put people to sleep and trigger appetites.
- Skywalker OG: Those needing to find the urge to eat without falling asleep may want to consider hybrids like Skywalker OG. Though it is still mostly indica, it delivers hybrid effects that tend to last for hours without putting a person to sleep.
A patient’s mental health is extremely likely to be affected during a cancer treatment. Having cancer has the potential to negatively affect a person’s anxiety, bringing on heightened levels of fear and depression. In fact, the American Cancer Society notes how these symptoms can even reach loved ones offering support and care for a patient. Because of its immense emotional gravity, patients seek medical cannabis strains for cancer related mental health woes just as they would for pain and appetite. Some of the strains associated with relief are:
- Super Silver Haze: In addition to sparking creativity, Super Silver Haze is regarded for its ability to produce waves of happiness, euphoria and relaxation. In turn, patients reported improvement around their stress, depression and fatigue among other common positive side effects.
- Chernobyl: Far from the disaster in Pripyat, this Chernobyl is a sativa leaning strain that delivers pleasant effects that often results in patients relaxing.
- Blueberry Headband: With Headband as a parent, Blueberry Headband was destined to help users de-stress and ease their pains. With a tendency to provide relief in the mind and body, it is often considered a viable strain for treating negative mental health symptoms in patients.
If the above symptoms didn’t make it clear, cancer patients undergo an immense toll when going through cancer and treatment. All accounted for, fatigue seems like a nearly certain outcome for patients during the process. To combat frequent lethargy, patients have turned to strains including:
- Strawberry Cough: Leafly says that this sativa “brings new life to both mind and body” as it boosts energy levels in users. In addition to helping with fatigue, patients report that Strawberry Cough may help with mental health conditions as well as pain and appetite issues.
- Tahoe OG Kush: Instead of ending the night exhausted and in pain, patients turn to indica strains like Tahoe OG Kush to relieve stress while easing into a night of sleep.
- Pineapple Express: One of the most popular strains today, Pineapple Express is a hybrid that provides long-lasting effects which may help a patient power through their day.
Remember Every Person is Different
While these are often viable medical cannabis strains for cancer patients, each person should consult with a medical professional before going forward. For more strain recommendations, consider this Leafly article which spoke to numerous cancer patients about which strains helped them during their ordeal.
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