Chemotherapy and CBD / Cannabidiol

Chemotherapy treatments can be very difficult for patients and at times carry painful side effects. It is a category of intravenously administered medicines that can rapidly attack cancerous cells in the body. These drugs are very strong and kill cells – both healthy and toxic – indiscriminately, this leads to many side effects like loss of hair, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling in the hands and feet – in short, the entire body begins to lose healthy function because there is loss of healthy cells.

Fortunately there are studies which suggest that cannabidiol (CBD), one of the chemicals derived from cannabis plants , can actually help manage the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy. Here’s how:

1) It can control nausea and vomiting

Studies have shown that CBD suppresses nausea and vomiting, although the exact mechanism is yet to be understood fully. Some researchers attribute this behavior to the indirect activation of somatodendritic 5-HT1SA receptors found in the dorsal raphe nucleus.

Vomiting is one of the body’s most important defense mechanisms which prevent the digestion of harmful substances. There is one disadvantage though; the nausea reflect is easy to trigger and can be caused by medications, migraine and chemotherapy. Even the feeling of disgust is enough to cause nausea and vomiting.

2) Reduces swelling of hands and feet

Studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the swelling of hands and feet that many patients experience when they undergo chemotherapy. It has been shown that inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) are reduced in a beta-amyloid murine model. An experiment was carried out in rats which worked on two symptoms that are consistent with inflammation, namely, edema and hyperalgesia.

3) Reduce neuropathic pain

Sativex conducted successful double blind, placebo controlled tests in which they confirmed that CBD has analgesic properties and suppressed neuropathic pain in patients. 63 patients were randomly selected to receive sativex while 62 got placebo. Patients who get sativex reported lower pain intensity scores on a 0-10 numerical rating scale. Cannabinoids double in their advantage by eliminating both pain and reducing the size of tumors.

4) Prevents weight loss

THC is well known for its appetite-promoting abilities. The positive influence CBD has on the endocannabinoid system is able to manage the appetite. It tries by regulating many of our systems, balancing the food intake in patients. CBD assists with the stimulation of fat genes by boosting the activity level of mitochondria in the body’s cells. The overall result is that patients begin to develop a higher eating motivation.

5) They promote emotional well being

Chemotherapy is well known for throwing a person’s mental well being off balance. Common symptoms that go along with their condition include depression, low self esteem, anxiety and emotional issues.  The trials have been primarily conducted in animals, but the results were consistent throughout – that they stabilized their mood and depression levels. Studies suggest that CBD achieves this by enhancing both serotonergic and glutamate cortical signaling after interacting with a mechanism that depends on 5-HT1A receptors.

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