For the more than 14 million people worldwide who get diagnosed with cancer each year, radiation therapy can improve the treatment rate for nearly 3.5 million of them, in addition to providing palliative relief to an additional 3.5 million patients.
Radiation therapy is a recognized element of cancer care and is offered throughout the world. However, though radiation therapy has been proven to be very effective for symptom relief when used in combination with surgery and a systemic course of chemotherapy, the treatment itself does come with a long list of provisos and side effects.
What are the Side Effects of Radiation Therapy?
Keep in mind, radiation therapy is used to slow down the growth of and kill cancer cells. However, since the treatment is not specifically targeted, the radiation can also damage existing healthy cells that are nearby. This is what gives rise to a number of side effects.
Each part of the body that’s treated will lead to different side effects, although some are common to all kinds of treatment:
- Hair loss
- Skin changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urinary and bladder changes
How Does Medical Marijuana Help?
THC is the main component of marijuana that helps relieve the side effects of radiation therapy. Known as tetrahydrocannabinol, this active component plays an important role in increasing patients’ appetites, controlling their nausea and lessening pain.
Not entirely new in the field of radiation therapy treatment, a synthetic derivative of THC (dronabinol) is already sold as a Schedule III drug and is approved by the FDA.
However, for patients who require a higher dosage for moderate to higher levels of pain and discomfort, a higher dose of THC— usually in the form of medical marijuana—is considered to be the best option. But for that, you need to have a medical marijuana card so you can receive your medication easily without any concerns over the quality or legality of the drug.
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