Heartbreakingly, approximately 1.9 million cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2022. Thankfully, we know more than we did a few decades ago about offering treatment and relief to those with this life-changing diagnosis.
By way of example – we have known for years that cannabis can have a positive effect on those undergoing treatment for cancer. In fact, this is how many consumers initially ignite their love affair with the plant – after having it potentially suggested as part of a cancer care regime and being moved by the results.
Notably, scientists have reported that THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD can slow growth and even destroy certain types of cancer cells.
Cannabis compounds are not only beginning to be considered anti-cancer agents but can also offer complementary therapy. CBD, for example, may also boost uptake or increase the potency of certain cancer treatments, as well as offer relief from symptoms associated with chemotherapy and radiation. According to recent research, cannabinoids may reduce nausea and neuropathic pain, as well as modulate appetite. CBD also has been associated with anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects, both of which have beneficial applications during cancer treatment.
Anecdotally, these studies are hardly news. Those with cancer who consume cannabis say that it benefits them in several ways: reducing nausea and vomiting, boosting appetite, relieving pain and calming anxiety. Although many pharmaceutical medications can also do these things, clinical studies indicate cannabis has the apparent advantage of treating several symptoms simultaneously.
And while the country remains divided about many things—medical cannabis is not one of them. As more people rely on cannabis to aid in the struggles of chronic conditions like cancer, pollsters find that Americans widely believe patients should have available access to it. A solid 91 percent of us believe cannabis should be legal medicine, as a Pew Research poll found.
Andrew Bowden, Item 9 Labs Corp.’s Chief Executive Officer, found his passion for cannabis when he witnessed the potent relief it offered his mother during her formidable fight with cancer.
“When my mother was diagnosed with triple-negative stage 3 breast cancer in 2016, I began actively searching for something—anything—to help her manage the pain and connected with a good friend and founder of Item 9 Labs. After doing in-depth research, I learned cannabis could provide relief from chemotherapy-induced ailments such as pain, nausea and inflammation, and she agreed to obtain her medical card and try it.”
“We found the best product for her to try – it was a blend in a tincture with Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) in it. Tinctures are great because they come in various ratios and give patients the ability to adjust doses as needed, and RSO was perfect because it does not need to be heated or smoked for use. It is also a sugar-free plant extract, unlike other edibles, which are laden with sugars and dyes which can increase inflammation.”
“Although this combination worked best for my mom, there are other options depending on other patient needs.”
Here is a breakdown of a few key cannabis product categories that may offer relief.
Rick Simpson Oil
RSO is a whole plant cannabis extract that is often preferred by cancer patients due to its potency, efficacy and route of administration. When consumed orally, its THC offers more intense, longer-lasting effects.
With a potent extract high in THC and rich in other plant compounds, RSO is commonly discarded in various cannabis formulations, but researchers believe that all plant compounds work synergistically to improve the efficacy of the medicinal and therapeutic compounds.
Concentrates are another form of cannabis formulation which are very potent and could be beneficial when dealing with intense pain or nausea. However, these products can be more challenging to use and dose without the proper tools. Concentrates are recommended for experienced consumers.
A “friendlier” way to explore with concentrates, if you are in a state that allows medicinal or adult-use cannabis, is through vape pens. These pens are usually high in THC and can be discreet – making it an ideal portable rescue when needed most. Use caution when purchasing vape pens and ensure the one you choose is from a brand or dispensary you trust.
Flower has the benefit of being whole-plant and having many available strains in wide-ranging profiles. Flower is ideal for vaporizing in a desktop or portable vaporizer. Vaporization is much easier on the lungs if you are a new consumer. Vaporizing also preserves many of the plant’s therapeutic compounds, commonly lost during combustion. When inhaled, THC can offer immediate relief. A high-quality vaporizer is an excellent investment for someone who is using flower remedially.
Bowden makes a compelling pitch, based on personal experience, for the benefits of cannabis in cancer treatment: “It was thanks to the support of our family and friends, her determination and the aid of cannabis products that my mom was able to endure three different, arduous routes of cancer treatments. And, after seeing the positive effects cannabis had on my mom’s life, I decided to make it my mission to give the same opportunities to others who need help. Cannabis can truly be a source of pain relief. I believe this is what will help future cancer patients thrive and enjoy the rest of their lives. I want to see everyone live life to their fullest, pain-free.”
Like Bowden, I, and the rest of the team at Item 9 Labs Corp. are driven by our mission to connect people with alternative medicine they need compliantly. We feel especially passionate about offering relief, comfort and good health to those whose quality of life depends on it.
Finally, a word to the wise. Always follow the treatment recommendations offered by your physician and use caution when purchasing cannabis products. Purchase from legal dispensaries, and reputable brands, and check the certificate of analysis.
Fay Powell, Director of Education and Training at Unity Rd.
Fay Powell is the Director of Education & Training for Unity Rd., the cannabis dispensary franchise from Item 9 Labs Corp., which also cultivates and produces the award-winning Item 9 Labs product brand. Her role ensures that patients and consumers receive extensive product knowledge from franchise partners and their team members while having the best experience when seeking products that fit their needs.
Fay transitioned her career from real estate to cannabis to help those living with epilepsy – a decision inspired by her father’s battle with it. The experience gave her a renewed purpose in life to provide patients with confidence in alternative medicine.
With 10 years of industry experience across various roles in and outside a dispensary, she guides franchise partners in their pursuit of owning and operating a successful and compliant dispensary. Ultimately, reaching more patients through the network of Unity Rd. shops nationwide.