Find out more about pain and opioids.
Cannabis comes from the cannabis plant. The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is a type of cannabinoid. There are many other types of cannabinoids in cannabis. Cannabinoids are chemicals that act on certain receptors on cells in our body, especially cells in the central nervous system.
Nabilone (Cesamet) is a pill that has synthetic cannabinoids. It is approved in Canada to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It’s sometimes given to people with cancer if standard antinausea drugs do not help relieve these symptoms.
Loss of appetite
Some clinical trials showed that cannabinoids help reduce pain in some people.
Using cannabis, drugs containing cannabinoids or both may help you relax and give you a sense of well-being. But studies on the effectiveness of cannabis have had different results. Some people with cancer may find using cannabis or drugs that contain cannabinoids helps them cope with these symptoms and side effects.
The benefits and risks of cannabis for medical purposes have not been thoroughly reviewed by Health Canada, and individual products have not gone through an approval process. When approving a drug, Health Canada reviews the evidence to make sure that the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks and negative side effects. Talk to your healthcare team if you are thinking about using cannabis for medical purposes or other drugs that contain cannabinoids. There is not enough information to know how using cannabis will interact with drugs and cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Medical cannabis is legal in Canada, and recreational cannabis is legalized as of October 2018. The Canadian government allows seriously ill people access to cannabis for medical reasons. This is commonly called medical cannabis.
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Many thanks for your reply Jones0343. Kind regards
If I were in the end stages of life my response might be different as the anecdotal evidence for pain relief, or at least not caring, is fairly substantial.
Hi thanks for your reply. No I didn’t realise this. Thanks for your advice.
Secondly but most important, is the fact that, as I was on chemo at the time, if any progress or regress happened, it would be impossible to tell what was having an effect, the chemo or the cannabis or a combination. This I felt would detract from the medical practitioners’ options.
In 1964, Mechoulam and colleagues found that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was the major psychoactive ingredient of cannabis. However, the endocannabinoid signaling system has only been the focus of medical research and considered a potential therapeutic target in recent times.[15–17] During the late 1980s Howlett and colleagues identified and characterized a receptor in rat brain that met criteria for a high-affinity, stereoselective, pharmacologically distinct cannabinoid receptor, by means of radiolabelled agonist ligand binding and functional assays for G-protein coupled receptors.
On both steps 2 and 3, combination therapy that includes an NSAID or other drugs to enhance analgesia or treat side effects is advocated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Despite the fact that a higher percentage of men have localized disease at presentation, metastatic prostate cancer remains an important clinical problem, both in terms of the number of affected men and its impact on their quality of life. Hematogenous spread of prostate cancer cells is a common event. For these malignant cells, tumor growth preferentially occurs in bones of the axial skeleton. The most common site of metastasis is bone and frequently is symptomatic, causing pain, debility, and functional impairment. The presence of pain in men with advanced prostate cancer is an immediate indication for aggressive management with analgesics, while adequate treatments that address directly the cause of the pain are pursued.
Uncontrolled pain can cause unnecessary suffering, decreased ability to cope with illness, interference with daily activities and extended hospital admissions, and decreasing overall quality of life.[63,64] The usual approach to cancer pain management differs from physician to physician, but a well-known guideline is described in the World Health Organization’s analgesic ladder:[65,66]
Cannabinoid CB1 receptors are found mainly in the central nervous system and, in less abundance, in certain peripheral tissues. At the peripheral level, they are localized in the adrenal gland, adipose tissue, heart, liver, lung, prostate, uterus, ovary, testis, bone marrow, thymus, tonsils, and presynaptic nerve terminals.[37–42] More significantly for the purposes of the present review, they are found at central and peripheral levels of the pain pathways.[39–47] The distribution of cannabinoid receptors provides an anatomical explanation for the analgesic effects of the cannabinoids. Activation of presynaptic CB1 receptors in different brain regions or on primary afferents inhibits the release of neurotransmitters by decreasing calcium conductance and by increasing the conductance of potassium. Neurophysiological studies by Walker’s laboratory first documented that cannabinoids suppress nociceptive processing.[48–50] Cannabinoids, administered systemically, suppress activity of nociceptive neurons in the spinal dorsal horn and ventralposterior lateral nucleus of the thalamus, without altering the activity of purely non-nociceptive neurons. Stimulation-produced analgesia was blocked by the CB1 antagonist SR141716A, demonstrating mediation by the CB1 receptor.