Cannabis Medicine (most often called Medical Marijuana) can be helpful for a variety of disabling symptoms and conditions. Jill Becker, MD, at Apex Medical Wellness in Brockton and Marlborough, MA, offers a science-based approach to help manage illnesses with minimal cannabis doses. Call Apex Medical Wellness today to request an in-person or telehealth Cannabis Medicine consultation.

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What is cannabis medicine?

Cannabis Medicine uses chemical compounds from cannabis (marijuana) plants to help patients with specific conditions such as chemotherapy induced nausea, insomnia, and chronic pain.

Cannabis use can pose some risks to users. For instance, using cannabis while driving or doing other high-risk tasks can be dangerous. Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal.

What does medical research say about cannabis health risks?

The best current evidence suggests that cannabis isn’t toxic to humans. However, some studies indicate that teenagers might experience structural brain changes and memory problems due to cannabis use. Other research has found no adverse effects on long-term life outcomes. Dr. Becker doesn’t certify minors for cannabis use.

Dr. Becker strongly recommends that women who are or might become pregnant stop using cannabis entirely during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Cannabis chemicals remain in your blood for 30-60 days after the last dose. If you’re trying to get pregnant, stop taking cannabis for at least two months before attempting to conceive. If you find you are pregnant, discontinue cannabis use immediately.

Why would I use cannabis when I need chemotherapy?

You might require chemotherapy if you have cancer. Even if it is possible to remove a tumor surgically, you may need additional treatments such as chemotherapy and/or radiation. Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to stop cancer cells’ growth, while radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation (like X-rays) to kill cancer cells. Newer treatments like immunotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy are also available. Chemotherapy is still often used because of its efficacy.

What side effects can chemotherapy cause?

Chemotherapy can be an effective cancer treatment, but it can cause significant side effects.

The drugs used in chemotherapy target the fast-growing cells typically found in cancerous tumors. Chemotherapy drugs travel throughout your body, therefore they can also affect fast-growing, healthy cells.

Some of the fast growing cells that chemotherapy can affect include bone marrow cells which produce blood cells, hair follicle cells (where the hair root grows), cells in your digestive system, and cells of the reproductive system. Depending on which chemotherapy drug you are prescribed, heart, lung, kidney, bladder, or nervous system damage can also occur. Your cancer doctor can explain more about these issues.

What chemotherapy side effects might I experience?

The most common chemotherapy side effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bruising and bleeding easily
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth, tongue, and throat sores
  • Pain with swallowing
  • Dry, discolored skin
  • Weight changes
  • Reduced concentration and focus
  • Mood changes

Peripheral neuropathy is also common. This condition develops when chemotherapy drugs damage your nerve cells, causing pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, and/or prickling sensations.

Side effects vary depending on the chemotherapy used as well as the person being treated. Some people find them manageable; others experience such severe problems they struggle to cope. How you respond depends partly on which drugs your chemotherapy contains and partly on your genetic makeup.

What can I do about chemotherapy side effects?

Your oncologist (cancer doctor) might be able to reduce some chemotherapy symptoms by giving you medications beforehand, like antiemetics, to stop vomiting. But many side effects are unpreventable, or you might not be a good candidate for preventive treatment.

At Apex Medical Wellness, Dr. Becker understands how distressing chemotherapy side effects can be. She offers cannabis medication that helps with common problems like nausea, vomiting, anxiety, appetite changes, insomnia, and pain.

Call Apex Medical Wellness today or request an appointment online for expert help with chemotherapy side effects.

What does the law say about cannabis?

Massachusetts law allows certified patients to possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis for their personal medical use per month. Ten ounces is an astoundingly high amount, and most patients won’t use anywhere near this much. Cannabis use remains illegal under federal law.

Dr. Becker expects her patients to adhere to her medically-based cannabis regimen. The law allows doctors to set a lower limit, which Dr. Becker will do where needed. Dr. Becker’s experience is that if a patient uses more than one ounce per month, they could be overusing. In these cases, she recommends an interim consultation.

You should also know that you can’t legally share or resell the cannabis you purchase under the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program.

Call Apex Medical Wellness today for an appointment or request an appointment online to learn more about cannabis and its safe medical use.