Marijuana may play a role in cancer care by ameliorating some of the distressing symptoms of the disease – as well as some of the symptoms caused by treatment.
In general, there are prescription drugs available that also help the same symptoms, although some patients have a greater response to cannabis than they do to those. Conversely, some patients get more relief from the prescription drugs than they do from marijuana. Variability of response is a feature shared by most drugs which are given for the purpose of relieving symptoms.
“My experience is that many patients benefit from the nausea relieving and appetite stimulating effects of pot – and it is less effective against a wide variety of other symptoms,” said Gary Larson, a medical director on Quora.
Many people LOVE marijuana. They love it like alcoholics love alcohol and coke addicts love cocaine. Just as some alcoholics have referred to alcohol as the “elixir of life”, some marijuana lovers have ascribed magical qualities to it as well. I think that’s where the myth that marijuana can cure cancer comes from. People are so intent on extolling its virtues, they ascribe more than there actually are.
Of the abusable drugs available today, pot probably has the least harmful side effect profile. Alcohol and tobacco kill a thousand times more people than marijuana, but smoking marijuana can cause cancer. In fact smoking anything can cause cancer. Our lungs were not made to tolerate breathing smoke on a regular basis for years on end – especially when it contains a wide variety of potential carcinogens. Pot is probably pretty safe if one eats it, instead of smoking it, but even that has not been subject to epidemiological analysis.
Marijuana is no more likely to cure cancer than broccoli. If may turn out to be beneficial for many symptoms, but it needs to be studied in clinical trials to finally know the truth.