Breast Cancer and Cannabis

October 26, 2021

October is breast cancer awareness month in the United States. Each year, more than a quarter million women in this country are diagnosed with breast cancer. Though mortality rates have declined over the past few decades, breast cancer is still the second leading cause of death among women in the United States.

The effects of breast cancer and treatment take both a physical and a mental toll on the life of the affected person. Common symptoms of breast cancer include swelling, pain, fatigue, and decrease in appetite. Treatment for breast cancer itself can also cause severe, long-term side effects in many women. Some of the most commonly reported side effects include neuropathy, nausea, stress, depression, cataracts, and changes to cognitive functions.

Cannabis often serves as a safer alternative than the opiates and other drugs that are prescribed to deal with the side-effects of cancer and treatment. It is no surprise then that close to half of all U.S. breast cancer patients use cannabis to help with the side effects, according to a study published this year in the scientific journal Cancer. The study found that participants primarily use cannabis to relieve symptoms such as pain, insomnia, anxiety, stress, and nausea. However, a relative few percentage of these patients discuss their usage with their physician. This can be potentially harmful, as cannabis might have some negative interactions with whatever treatments/drugs they might be taking.

Final Thoughts

Though humans have used cannabis for centuries to help them treat various different ailments, the therapeutic benefits of this plant have not been fully revealed yet. Decades of federal prohibition have prevented researchers from being able to experiment on cannabis to unveil its true potential. Only in recent years has cannabis scientific research become more popular. As we gain a deeper understanding of the interaction between the hundreds of chemical compounds found in cannabis and the human body, better and more effective treatments for breast cancer will be developed. Cannabis has the potential to serve as a successful cancer treatment option with less long-term side effects than many of the current treatments that are popular.

In regards to breast cancer preparedness and prevention, there are many things one can do to stay safe and educated. Breast cancer experts recommend that women talk to their healthcare professional about their personal risk factors and determine how often they should be screened. Preventative measures can help save lives by catching any cancer that may have developed and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body.

Here on the Central Coast, there is a host of organizations and non-profit that dedicate themselves to providing cancer patients and survivors with resources and support to help them regain control of their lives. They include the Tri-Counties Cancer Detection Partnership, the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara, and Mission Hope Cancer Center, which all do tremendous work in serving their patients. To learn more about their mission and to help their cause, click on the links above to be directed to their site.

At The Roots, we carry a wide variety of edibles, smokeables, and topicals that may help you manage some of the side effects of cancer and treatment. Some particular standouts include the Full Spectrum Oils from Bird Valley Organics, the Papa & Barkley tinctures and balms, and the Coastal Sun line of cannabis flower. Come in and ask your budtenders about these products today!