Mental Health and Pain Management With Marijuana

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Mental Health and Pain Management With Marijuana

On average, up to one-third of cancer patients experience mental health symptoms like anxiety or depression after diagnosis; these often include both clinical and subclinical manifestations. Despite increasing public awareness regarding cannabis’ potential benefits for managing these disorders, little data exists regarding its utilization among cancer patients and their clinicians.

Most US states have comprehensive medicinal cannabis laws that permit the use of botanicals, including marijuana, to treat various health conditions. Although these regulations have the potential to improve patient outcomes, they create complex legal, pharmacological and social obstacles which must be surmounted by healthcare providers in order to take advantage of these opportunities.

These challenges are compounded by the high cost of cannabis treatment compared to other pharmaceutical treatments. Furthermore, legal implications from cross-state travel for treatment can lead to additional expenses like hotel or transportation fees for patients; especially in states where cannabis use is still prohibited. Therefore, oncology clinicians must communicate clearly and openly with their patients about these implications when providing care in another jurisdiction.

Medical cannabis may be beneficial in managing mental health and pain symptoms for cancer patients. Unfortunately, current research on this topic is limited, and clinicians should weigh all factors before recommending it to their patients.

Marijuana can interact negatively with certain medications, decreasing their effectiveness and increasing the potential for negative reactions. Such drugs include anticoagulants, anti-platelet drugs, herbs/supplements that lower blood clotting, CNS depressants, protease inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and alcohol. Furthermore, medicinal cannabis may alter how these drugs are metabolized within the body leading to stronger effects or even toxic ones.

In certain circumstances, cannabis may be prescribed instead of these medications when they prove ineffective or the patient experiences difficulty taking them without adverse effects. On the other hand, cannabis and these drugs can be combined to reduce side effects and enhance efficacy.

Cannabis can be helpful for managing some mental health and pain symptoms, but the correct dosage must be determined based on an individual’s unique needs and tolerances. The best way to determine the appropriate dose is to consult with a healthcare professional.

Many cancer survivors are now advocating the use of medicinal cannabis to manage their symptoms. Specifically, these patients report that it helps alleviate anxiety and depression.

They report feeling more secure having it around and are able to relax, focus and sleep better while using it. Furthermore, some say it helps them cope with the stress of cancer treatment and side effects better.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on cancer survivors, particularly those with anxiety and/or depression. These individuals are more likely to fear giving COVID-19 away, report that their lives have been drastically changed by it, as well as report changes in cannabis use and coping behaviors due to the crisis.

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- Welcome, SoundTherapy.com lowers anxiety 86%, pain 77%, and boosts memory 11-29%. Click on the brain to sign up or share with buttons below to help others: