Nigeria: Why More Doctors Recommend Cannabis for Cancer, Pain, Others

27 September 2018

It is illegal in most parts of the world including Nigeria. Yet the country is a major source of West African-grown cannabis, and ranked world's eight highest consumer of cannabis.

But the weed, marijuana, hemp, igbo, gbana, kaya, wee-wee, abana or Cannabis sativa has become a novel adjunct treatment for cancer, pain, poor appetite, nausea, epilepsy to mention but a few.

Little wonder some doctors especially oncologists in Nigeria, United States (U.S.), United Kingdom (U.K.), Canada among other countries recommend it for their patients.

Even Coca-Cola is considering developing a drink containing Cannabis. Coca-Cola Cola, last week, said it is eyeing the cannabis drinks market.

Coca-Cola said it is monitoring the nascent industry and is interested in drinks infused with cannabidiol, or CBD- the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that treats pain but does not get one high.

Some doctors in Lagos who preferred anonymity told The Guardian they prescribe decoction of Cannabis for cancer patients.

Meanwhile, researchers who surveyed a population-based sample of medical oncologists said while a wide majority of oncologists do not feel informed enough about medical marijuana's utility to make clinical recommendations, most do in fact conduct discussions on medical marijuana in the clinic and nearly half recommend it to their patients.

The study, published last week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is the first nationally representative survey of medical oncologists to examine attitudes, knowledge and practices regarding the agent since medical marijuana became legal on the state level in the US.

Of note, additional findings of the current study suggest that nearly two-thirds of oncologists believe medical marijuana to be an effective adjunct to standard pain treatment, and equally or more effective than the standard therapies for symptoms like nausea or lack of appetite, common side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

Medical marijuana refers to the non-pharmaceutical cannabis products that healthcare providers recommend for therapeutic purposes.

A significant proportion of medical marijuana products are whole-plant marijuana, which contains hundreds of active ingredients with complicated synergistic and inhibitory interactions.

By contrast, cannabinoid pharmaceuticals, which are available with a prescription through a pharmacy, contain no more than a couple of active ingredients.

Cannabis oil for pains

One of the big health stories of 2018, cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is increasingly being studied for its pain-relieving abilities, among other medical uses.

Extracted from non-marijuana strains of industrial hemp plants, CBD oil is highly effective for treating many types of pain, including headache, joint pain, endometriosis pain and neuropathic pain (due to nerve damage).

CBD creams, salves and ointments are equally effective for pain relief when applied directly to painful muscles and joints.

CBD not only reduces the level of pain signals reaching the brain but also alters the way you respond to them, changing your reaction to pain and helping you feel and cope much better.

In addition, CBD reduces anxiety and stress, improves sleep and lifts mood.

However, because it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component in marijuana, it does not give one the high associated with the plant and is therefore legal to take.

A 2012 review in the Journal of Experimental Medicine concluded Cannabidiol oil (a non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant) is an effective treatment for adults suffering with chronic pain and, significantly, there are no reported side effects.

Pancreatic cancer: Cannabis compound may boost survival

Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that unfortunately has some of the lowest survival rates.

A new study in mice suggests that one substance could help address this problem: cannabidiol, a naturally occurring cannabis compound.

CBD oil and cannabis plant

Researchers look to cannabidiol in the hope of improving survival rates for people with pancreatic cancer.

According to data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), in the United States, there will be an estimated 55,440 new cases of pancreatic cancer by the end of this year.

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