What if cannabis dosing for the treatment of cancer turns out to be similar to the dosing needed to simply make the cancer patient comfortable? What does it take to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy, e.g., nausea, pain, anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, and more? Could THC-V relieve chemotherapy induced neuropathy? These are all serious questions associated with the care and treatment of cancer patients. There are several oncologists who refer their patients to me for neuropathy prevention, when neurotoxic chemotherapy is required and unavoidable. In some cases, cannabis as an adjunct therapy allows the patient to receive a full dose of a chemotherapy, which otherwise would not be possible to due to the severe neuropathic side effects of the drug.
In both our cancer treatment plan as well as treating cancer related symptoms, we begin with a standard protocol of combined cannabinoids at a relatively low dose, and increase the dosage incrementally. At this initial dose, patients generally begin to feel better, and the symptoms and therapies related to their disease become tolerable. In addition to anti-nausea properties, the anti-proliferative (tumor shrinking) effect of the “raw” or “acid” versions of the cannabinoids is a very important part of the treatment plan. Then, if in addition we do see apoptosis (anti-proliferative effects,) so much the better. I am quite certain that cannabis undeniably has considerable impact on cancer cells.
Contrary to this philosophy, there are patients who favor a much more intense THC treatment plan, such as the Rick Simpson therapy, in which nearly 800 mg of THC is ingested daily over a 60 - 90 day period. Personally, I believe CBD, as well as other very specific molecules, are an extremely important part of any cannabis treatment plan, having potent anti-proliferative effects. Why would we then not add this to the treatment plan?
If the side effects of chemotherapy or immunotherapy were as benign as cannabis, we would surely give patients all the drugs that might possibly help. Agreed? Of course, this unfortunately is impossible due to the toxicity of chemotherapy.
In addition, do we really know which cannabinoids work best for any individual patient’s tumor? I’m aware that there are those that claim to know which cannabinoids are best for each individual cancer. This is most definitely not my belief. If someone actually has this data, I would love to review it.