Approximately 39.6% of people will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lifetime. The disease disrupts and takes the lives of people who have it and also significantly impacts the people that care about them. Unfortunately, we don’t have a definite cure so, currently, the best we can do is manage cancer symptoms and give it our all with the treatment solutions we have.
An important step in the fight against cancer is learning all you can about the disease. The more we know about cancer, often the easier it is to treat it. That knowledge includes alternative treatments like medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana can’t cure cancer, but we can use it as a tool to improve the lives of cancer patients and help them get their lives back. Let’s talk about medical cannabis and thyroid cancer.
Most people understand what commonly known organs like the stomach and lungs do. But what about the thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that moderates hormones that control metabolism and calcium use. Its follicular cells make thyroid hormones that normalize metabolism. To maintain the way that the body uses calcium, the thyroid’s C cells create a hormone called calcitonin.
When you have an abnormal number of thyroid hormones, you experience health problems related to your metabolism. Hypothyroidism occurs when you have too few thyroid hormones, making you feel tired and slow. If you have a high number of thyroid hormones, you have hyperthyroidism, which quickens your heartbeat and makes you feel on-edge.
A healthy body regularly creates new cells to replace old ones. Usually, the old cells die off to make room for the new cells. But, when you have cancer, your old cells don’t die off, causing health problems and even death.
We name a cancer after the place in the body it starts in, so thyroid cancer is cancer that begins in the thyroid. Even if the cancer eventually spreads to other parts of the body, we still call it thyroid cancer.
The three main types of thyroid cancer are:
When you have thyroid cancer, you exhibit any or all of these symptoms:
Also, thyroid cancer patients deal with symptoms universal to cancer, such as:
Since thyroid cancer often manifests as a lump in the neck, it’s often detected early. Most cancer patients have a higher chance of survival when they get an early diagnosis. So, the high chance of early detection helps many thyroid cancer patients receive successful treatment.
Most of the time, doctors find thyroid cancer either when a patient reports neck swelling or during a regular checkup. A simple neck examination usually does the trick. In other cases, thyroid cancer can be found during an ultrasound or blood test.
We have a few options for treating cancer. The treatment a patient gets depends on the stage of the disease, the patient’s other health problems and the patient’s personal preferences. Some of the most common thyroid cancer treatments include:
Many of these treatments take a substantial toll on your body, so you and your doctor must take care when choosing one.
Medical marijuana is unique because it can address multiple health problems at once without severe side effects for most patients. Thanks to its versatile nature, cancer patients can pick a strain to suit the symptoms they experience, including cancer symptoms. In fact, medical cannabis almost seems tailor-made for cancer relief — many of the symptoms it commonly relieves appear in cancer patients, including:
In addition to addressing symptoms caused by thyroid cancer, research suggests that it could tackle the disease itself.
Researchers have been considering marijuana’s potential for killing and reducing the spread of cancer cells. While we don’t know if it can ultimately cure cancer, studies indicate that it could help teach us what a successful cancer treatment looks like. When you add that to its ability to help patients with other cancer symptoms, you get a great supplement to cancer treatment.
However, when we deal with organs related to hormones, we should take care when using cannabinoidslike THC. A study on men suggested that THC can reduce thyroid hormones, which isn’t ideal for patients with thyroid cancer. Since the study only used male subjects, we have much more research to do to understand the whole situation.
Thyroid cancer is the most common malady affecting the endocrine system, and it’s also the deadliest. Three types of thyroid carcinomas can occur in patients:
Although the first two have a fairly good prognosis for patients, the latter, anaplastic, is highly aggressive. A 2008 research study performed by the Department of Genetics at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Saudi Arabia explored the possibilities of using cannabis in cancer gene therapy.
In their report entitled “Cannabinoid 2 receptor induction by IL-12 and its potential as a therapeutic target for the treatment of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma,” researchers found that using marijuana to induct the endocannabinoid receptor CB2 allowed for cancer gene therapy to have a more profound effect.
They also learned that when combined with cancer-fighting gene therapy, the induction of CB2 receptors contributed to thyroid tumor regression and prevented the growth of anaplastic tumors by:
You have way more options for marijuana use than just smoking. Both the medical and recreational marijuana industries have worked hard to make their products usable for everyone. Certain methods will work better than others for thyroid cancer. Let’s see how they compare:
Picking the right cannabis medicine can prove very difficult, especially if you haven’t used marijuana before. When in doubt, check in with your doctor or dispensary. They can provide guidance based on your personal needs.
While marijuana comes with side effects, not all of them will feel like a side effect to you. Marijuana can affect people differently, and the same effect will help some people while hurting others.
For instance, the following side effects are, in fact, beneficial for people with thyroid cancer:
But, not every side effect of weed will help you — some of them still act as just side effects, such as:
Even if it’s not listed here, you should contact your physician immediately if you experience health issues that you didn’t have before using marijuana. It’s possible that you have an allergy or an existing, undiagnosed condition.
Remember how we said that having the right information is a crucial tool for your cancer treatment? If you need to do further reading on cancer and medical marijuana, take a look at the broad range of resources we provide that educate and inform.
The legal ways you can obtain and use medical marijuana depend on the resources and regulations in your area. Learn more about the weed laws in your state, the experienced marijuana doctors near you and the dispensaries providing medication in your area.
Now that you know your options, how about learning more about conditions and pot themselves? If you need to read up on another medical condition treated with marijuana, check out our library of qualifying conditions. Patients trying to keep up with the latest developments in marijuana legislation and lifestyles should read our blog on news, lifestyles and medical advice.
For more information, find a medical marijuana doctor in your state today!
This information is not provided by medical professionals and is intended only to complement, and not to replace or contradict, any health or medical advice or information provided by healthcare professionals. If you have any questions, please contact your doctor or other healthcare professional.