Updated on December 19, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Neurofibromatosis (NF) has no cure, so doctors must focus on relieving its symptoms to make life more comfortable for the patient. It can also cause malignant tumors, making it crucial for the patient to become as comfortable as possible during their treatment. Whether they have moderate or severe symptoms, reducing stress and discomfort is a top priority for NF patients.
Some people think palliative care is the same thing as hospice care, but the two kinds of services have different goals. While hospice care only focuses on patients at the end of their lives, palliative care serves any patient with a chronic, incurable disease. A palliative care team aims to make the patient’s experience with their condition as comfortable as possible.
You read that right — patients undergoing palliative care work with an entire team who wants to help them have a high-quality life. The team members come from all sorts of medical disciplines to provide well-rounded care. To do this, they:
Unlike hospice care, palliative care can include treatments that try to prolong your life. Palliative care providers are much rarer than hospice organizations, but they can offer more comprehensive services if you can find one.
Cannabis medicine and palliative care have similar philosophies that complement each other. Both approaches focus on the person’s needs instead of the condition.
Marijuana medicine can relieve some of the most uncomfortable symptoms of NF, like severe and chronic pain. If you have inflammation from your NF, you can also use medical cannabis to soothe inflamed tissue.
Preclinical evidence also suggests medical cannabis can slow down tumor growth. Since tumors are the main issue caused by NF, inhibiting tumor growth slows down the progression of your NF.
Some of the health issues associated with NF come from treatment side effects. You might not think about it, but the problems that arise from your treatments are just as important to address as the symptoms caused by your condition.
Procedures like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause appetite issues and chronic nausea. If you have to use strong painkillers, you can become dependent on them or damage your organs.
Fortunately, medical marijuana can reduce those issues by replacing or supplementing your treatments. Cannabis medicine combined with cancer treatments can help you get better without experiencing nausea or appetite problems. Marijuana medicine can also reduce pain, so you can use it to replace your painkillers or take a lower dosage.
NF doesn’t directly cause depression or anxiety, but the emotional impact of dealing with NF can trigger mental health problems. Medical marijuana can relieve depression or calm anxiety — in some cases, a patient can use different strains of marijuana to manage both kinds of symptoms.
You don’t have to figure out the world of medical marijuana alone. Cannabis-friendly doctors can help you decide what type of treatment is right for you. If you already take marijuana medicine, you can consult dispensary staff members, too.