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What is brain cancer?
A brain tumor is basically a mass of abnormal cancer cells growing within your brain.
Many different types of brain tumors exist. Some brain tumors are noncancerous, and some brain tumors are cancerous. Brain tumors can begin in your brain, start in other parts of your body as lung cancer, bladder cancer, testicular cancer, and later spread to your brain as a secondary tumor.
Per the National Cancer Institute, the quickness with which a brain tumor grows can vary significantly. The growth rate and the location of a brain tumor determine how it will affect your nervous system. Options for brain tumor treatment depend on your type of brain tumor, size, and location as well as if it’s advanced cancer.
What causes brain cancer?
Most people diagnosed with a brain tumor don’t realize they have been exposed to brain cancer risk factors. However, certain risk factors and health conditions have been shown to increase a person’s chances of developing one, including:
- The risk of a brain tumor increases significantly with age.
- People exposed to radiation therapy used to treat cancer and radiation exposure caused by atomic bombs have an increased brain tumor risk.
- Rare genetic conditions such as Von Hippel-Lindau disease, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and Neurofibromatosis may increase the risk of developing specific brain tumors. Otherwise, there isn’t much scientific evidence that brain cancer is genetic.
Symptoms of Brain Cancer
Brain tumors don’t typically have apparent symptoms, so there aren’t yet many suggestions for cancer prevention. Headaches that get worse over time can be a symptom of many conditions, including brain tumors. Other symptoms can include changes in mood or personality, eye weakness, nausea, cognitive function loss, and short-term memory loss. Even benign brain tumors can be severe and life-threatening. If you experience these symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider immediately.
Brain Cancer Statistics
Here are some quick brain tumor facts provided by BrainTumor.Org and the American Cancer Society:
- An estimated 700,000 Americans are living with a primary brain tumor
- Approximately 71% of all brain tumors are benign
- About 29% of all brain tumors are malignant
- Approximately 58% of all brain tumors occur in females
- Approximately 42% of all brain tumors occur in males
- An estimated 88,970 people will receive a primary brain tumor diagnosis in 2022
- An estimated 63,040 will be non-malignant or benign
- Meningiomas are the most commonly occurring primary non-malignant brain tumors, accounting for 39% of all tumors and 54.5% of all non-malignant tumors
- Glioblastoma is the most commonly occurring primary malignant brain tumor, accounting for 14.3% of all tumors and 49.1% of all malignant tumors
- The median age at diagnosis for a primary brain tumor is 61 years
- Males have a 1 in 143 chance of developing brain cancer in their lifetime and a 1 in 188 chance of dying from brain cancer in their lifetime.
- For females, the chance of developing brain cancer is 1 in 186, with a 1 in 239 chance of dying from the disease
- The average survival rate for all primary brain tumor patients is 75.7%
- Survival rates vary by age and tumor type and generally decrease with age
- For non-malignant brain tumor patients, the average five-year survival rate is 91.8%
- For malignant brain tumor patients, the five-year relative survival rate following diagnosis is 35.6%
- For the most common form of primary malignant brain tumors, glioblastoma, the five-year relative survival rate is only 6.8% and the median survival is only eight months
- More than 18,200 people are estimated to lose their life because of brain cancer in 2022
- There are currently over 100 distinct types of primary brain tumors, each with its own spectrum of presentations, treatments, and outcomes
Marijuana and Cancer
Medical marijuana is commonly found to possess significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help with chronic pain management and chemotherapy-induced nausea fairly quickly. Cannabinoid receptors within a cannabis Sativa plant bind to the brain and peripheral nerve cells and help to regulate the way you see and feel the pain to reduce symptoms like nausea and vomiting and severe cancer pain.
Medical marijuana use, as opposed to other non-cannabinoid drugs, appears to be an excellent alternative to treat brain cancer patients and manage pain due to nerve damage or chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Its medical use can also promote appetite in cancer patients who have experienced appetite and weight loss.
Cannabis oil, also known as concentrates or dabs, is very popular in both recreational and medicinal cannabis settings. Often characterized by its high potency, oil can be used for conditions that need especially high strength such as cancer treatment. Critics of cannabis oil consider this marijuana addictive, mostly because of the tolerance build-up that occurs with frequent use. Cannabis oil may be good for cancer treatment but should be monitored aggressively similar to smoked marijuana for adverse effects and potential drug abuse.
The 2018 United States Farm Bill describes hemp as cannabis plants containing less than 0.3% THC. Hemp oil or CBD oil are products manufactured from extracts of industrial hemp. In contrast, hemp seed oil is an edible fatty oil that is essentially cannabinoid-free. Some products contain other botanical extracts or non-prescription analgesics and are available as oral and topical tinctures for cancer pain management.
According to medical marijuana laws, hemp products containing less than 0.3% of delta-9-THC are not scheduled or considered an illegal drug and can be considered Farm Bill compliant for cancer patients, according to the drug enforcement administration.
CAM represents cancer complementary and alternative medicine. These complementary and integrative health alternative therapies include:
- tai chi
- inhaled marijuana
- green tea
- natural vitamins and supplements
Best Strains for Cancer patients
When it comes to the best medical marijuana strains to help a brain cancer patient, you need something aimed at treating more severe pain and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Since it is still federally a controlled substance, there isn’t much research regarding the best strains. Fortunately, many strains work extraordinarily to relieve muscle spasms, decreased blood pressure, and swelling, and treat nausea and vomiting, tension, anxiety, and depression.
Here, we look at some of the best strains of cancer therapy from the latest cancer news.
A Sativa-dominant hybrid strain from California, Blue Dream is extremely popular among those with their medical marijuana card. Its sweet blueberry taste combined with the earthy, lemony aroma makes the blue dream strain one of the ideal marijuana strains currently on the market.
It has a THC level of 17% with very low CBD, providing an incredibly cerebral high. This cannabis strain can produce a general feeling of relaxation while relieving the adverse effects of constant pain.
This therapeutic marijuana strain is CBD dominant, containing minimal THC.
It’s an excellent strain for those seeking all the medicinal benefits and pain relief of cannabis without the high. Charlotte’s Web is known to be a neuroprotective strain for those prone to seizures. This medicinal cannabis strain is anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory and significantly helps with pain and symptom management.
White Widow, a widespread strain among new cannabis users, is one of the most potent cannabis strains, with surprisingly high THC levels of 25 percent. Unlike the usual Indica strain, this medical marijuana is non-drowsy, making it great for daytime pain relief and is a good choice for a cancer marijuana strain.
It’s an ideal choice for medical cannabis users doing chores or activities around the house while still managing to reduce neuropathic pain symptoms.
Super Silver Haze
This hybrid cannabis strain is 70% Sativa-dominant curated as a combination of Northern Lights, Haze, and Skunk No. 1. It’s the best strain for cancer, chemotherapy relief due to the light and euphoric high. It promotes creativity and a sense of well-being. There is anecdotal evidence from a clinical trial that this particular marijuana affect symptoms of depression and migraine that can come along with advanced cancer.
Super Silver Haze is an excellent choice for daytime smokers to help relieve nerve pain while motivating them to get moving. Due to being Sativa heavy, take it easy at first as this cannabis smoke can cause mild paranoia.
This medical marijuana strain is a relaxing, CBD-heavy hybrid plant. This cannabis and cannabinoids’ flavor profile that’s both earthy and sweet. The ACDC cannabis strain offers a feeling of happiness and relaxation while relieving some peripheral neuropathic problems and chronic pain. There’s a subtle high association, but you should remain clear-headed, just without as much neuropathic pain from chemotherapy and radiation.
Afghan Kush is a legendary landrace strain, which means it’s a natural strain grown on Earth before humans got involved in the cultivation process. It’s equal parts THC and CBD, providing a peaceful yet long-lasting high. This medical cannabis is known for significantly improving muscle spasms and pain associated with the peripheral nerves. It’s well-known medical marijuana for brain cancer symptoms due to its stress-relieving qualities and smooth flavor profile.
Harlequin is a CBD-heavy cannabis strain with enough THC to offer pain relief and a subtle, clear-headed high. It provides a calm, numbing effect to the body while ensuring the mind is clear and focused. This chronic pain-relieving marijuana strain is typical for newer medical marijuana cardholders. With a fruity and earthy flavor profile and a productive high, it’s ideal as a pain medication for any time of day.
This hybrid marijuana strain has 17 percent CBD and only 6 percent THC, making it ideal for those looking for medicinal benefits without the intense high. Although Cannatonic can give you dry eyes and mouth, it’s one of the better strains for vegging out on the couch. It’s beneficial for patients with IBS, migraines, and those needing pain alternatives for cancer-related symptoms.
Jack Herer is a 50/50 hybrid cannabis strain with fruity and citrus flavors known for boosting energy levels while offering chronic pain management. It has a 21 percent THC level and zero CBD. It’s known to be a social strain, perfect for the morning time. Jack Herer is easy to grow, highly functioning, and the ideal medical marijuana strain to help you enjoy life again.
This Indica-dominant hybrid medical marijuana strain is a mix of OG Kush and Sour Diesel. It’s a top choice for peripheral neuropathy patients due to its euphoric head high and relieving body high. Also a smart choice for those with diabetes, the Headband cannabis strain is known for helping to regulate and lower blood sugar. It’s a great strain to smoke at night because it provides significant relief for pain while sleeping and helps to ease chemotherapy-induced nausea.
Green Crack is a mainstream Sativa strain that can produce an intense head high. However, it’s not a strain to promote laziness, quite the opposite. Smoking marijuana is known to offer a boost of energy that could even replace your morning coffee. It’s a great strain to try before taking care of things around the house due to its long-lasting chronic pain relief.
Purple Kush is unique because there are four different derivatives; three are Sativa, and one is Indica. This marijuana strain has a THC content of 17 percent and is perfect for nighttime when you’re trying to let loose and relax after a long day. It can also help to reduce anxiety and promote a healthy appetite. Purple Kush produces a lot of resin, so it’s the ideal strain for making hash.
A significant clinical trial from the United Kingdom of cannabis-based drug Sativex in treating the most aggressive form of brain tumor is to launch at fifteen hospitals, following promising clinical evidence from a phase one small clinical trial with twenty-seven patients.
The new phase two randomized controlled trial by the University of Leeds will assess whether adding Sativex – an oral spray containing cannabinoids THC and CBD – to chemotherapy could extend the lives of thousands of patients diagnosed with recurrent glioblastoma. Currently, clinical trials prove that this disease has an average survival of fewer than ten months, especially if you begin treating cancer at a late stage.
According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer research:
- Cannabis has been used for purposes for thousands of years.
- By federal law, the possession of Cannabis is illegal in the United States, except within approved research settings; however, a growing number of states, territories and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize its medical and recreational use.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved Cannabis as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition.
- Chemical components of Cannabis, called cannabinoids, activate specific receptors throughout the body to produce pharmacological effects, particularly in the central nervous system and the immune system.
- Cannabinoids such as dronabinol and nabilone are approved drugs to treat cancer-related side effects and cancer pain. Health insurance companies are far behind on approving these drugs for use.
- Per the National Cancer Institute, cannabinoids may provide assistance to cancer patients with the treatment of cancer-related side effects.
Discovering a way to cope with cancer-related pain can be a difficult task. It’s not easy finding conventional medications that are effective or that our bodies respond to correctly. Many prescription drugs have side effects, so medical marijuana can be a life-changing alternative for some cancer patients.
Remember, marijuana doesn’t cure cancer but helps manage chemotherapy and radiation symptoms. Discuss medical cannabis use with your physician and follow their advice according to your cancer treatment plan. There can be serious health consequences of mixing cancer, chemotherapy, or other medications without approval. We recommend visiting the local dispensary for those who have cleared it with your doctor; you may find the connection between marijuana and cancer helps you get some relief.