For too many people, cancer is an unfortunate part of life. The sad fact is that according to cancer.gov, approximately 39.5% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes (based on 2015–2017 data). This stat doesn’t account for the countless loved ones also impacted. Whether you’re currently fighting cancer, in remission, or know someone who is, you are almost certainly feeling emotional and physical effects from it.
We see a lot of cancer patients at The High Note who have been able to utilize cannabis to increase their standard of living. Besides the disease itself, cancer also causes many symptoms from the physical to the mental and cannabis may provide relief. Nausea, appetite issues, depression, anxiety, and fatigue are just some of the common issues people with cancer face. We’ll dive into how cannabis is thought to help with these conditions below.
An important thing to note, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done before definitive claims can be made on the efficacy of cannabis as a treatment of any medical condition. The initial findings are promising and the feedback we get from our customers is extremely encouraging, but it’s extremely important to speak to your doctor before adding anything new to your treatment.
Terpenes & Cancer:
Terpenes, the essential oils of cannabis, are finally starting to get the attention they deserve. Each strain of cannabis has a distinct profile of terpenes which give it its aromas, flavors, and effects. Below we run through the most promising effects of terpenes in connection with cancer and the associated side-effects of treatment. If you want to learn more about what exactly terpenes are, please check out our blog post here.
Terpinolene is thought to be an effective anti-proliferative for reducing brain cancer cell growth. Research has found that terpinolene has the ability to downregulate certain proteins, effectively slowing the growth of cancer.
Pinene is one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis and it’s what gives the plant that familiar pine aroma. A study on α-pinene from pine needle oil found that the terpene showed anti-cancer activity. It was found that pine needle oil exhibited significant inhibitory effects on hepatoma carcinoma (liver cancer.)
Humulene is thought to inhibit tumor growth by producing reactive oxygen species, chemicals that help destroy cancer cells. Humulene’s reported anti-bacterial applications were favorites in ancient folk medicine and are still used today against staph infection.
Limonene has shown anti-inflammatory properties, wound healing, and anticancer effects in laboratory studies. D-limonene was shown to alter the signaling pathways within cancer cells in a way that stops cancer cells from multiplying and causes their death (this is called “apoptosis”).
Ocimene has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer cells, colon cancer cells, prostate cancer cells, and kidney cancer cells and to induce apoptosis in many cancer cells. It has also been found to enhance the chemo sensitivity and radio sensitivity of cancer cells.
Cannabis Strains & Cancer:
Depending on what issues you’re facing, there may be a great strain to help you out. Check out this list of common cannabis strains and their reported effects. If you’re not sure what you need, ask one of our knowledgeable budtenders!
ACDC (Chronic Pain)
ACDC is a CBD dominant sativa strain. Our customers find it helps with chronic pain relief. This strain is especially great if you’re sensitive to THC as it has high CBD and low THC compared to other strains.
Super Lemon Haze (Nausea and Vomiting)
Our customers have told us that this strain helps with nausea and vomiting. Super Lemon Haze is a cross between Lemon Skunk and Super Silver Haze. Enjoy the lemon aromas and sweet taste while benefiting from the anti-nausea effects.
Blue Dream (Nausea)
This crowd pleaser strain is also thought to help with nausea. Enjoy the calm and euphoric effects along with sweet aromas of blueberry.
Grand Daddy Purple (Loss in Appetite)
A cross of Purple Urkle and Big Bud, this indica not only brings relaxation but also the munchies. Many people enjoy GDP before a meal to help with appetite stimulation.
Skywalker OG (Loss in Appetite)
Another appetite stimulating strain, Skywalker OG is often used before eating. Skywalker tends to be on the potent side so if you’re not experienced with THC, take this one slow. You don’t need a big dose to enjoy the benefits of this strain.
Wedding Cake (Nausea and Appetite Loss)
This Seed Junky favorite is thought to help with nausea and appetite loss. If you need help getting food down and keeping it down, Wedding Cake might provide the relief you need.
Super Silver Haze (Depression)
AKA SSH, Super Silver Haze is an award-winning sativa. This cross of Skunk, Northern Lights, and Haze will deliver an upbeat mood adjustment that can help with depression.
Black Jack (Depression)
A cross of Black Domina and Jack Herer, Black Jack is an uplifting strain delivering mood boosting effects. Although it’s a hybrid, the effects lean toward sativa. Many of our customers report this strain helps with depression.
Girl Scout Cookies (Depression and Appetite Loss)
GSC is a very well-balanced strain between mind and body. A cross of OG Kush and Durban Poison delivers an intensely euphoric and uplifting high. Try this out if you’re looking for help with depression.
Strawberry Cough (Fatigue and Depression)
Strawberry Cough is an energizing strain that can help with fatigue. Expect delicious aromas of fresh strawberries followed by uplifting euphoria. Happiness is a main reported effect from this strain as well.
Big Smooth (Anxiety)
This flavorful indica-dominant strain is a cross of OG Blueberry and Cookies and Cream. Expect relaxing effects that can help calm the nerves and bring relief for anxiety.
Cannabinoids & Cancer:
Delta-8-THC (delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol) may not be as common as THC but it’s still one of the four most common cannabinoids found in cannabis. The National Cancer Institute defines Delta 8 as:
“An analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties. [Delta-8-THC] binds to the cannabinoid G-protein coupled receptor CB1, located in the central nervous system…This agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than [delta-9-THC], the primary form of THC found in cannabis.”
Expect semi-sedative effects, appetite stimulation, and help with nausea.
THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) was shown to inhibit cancer cell growth in studies around prostate cancer. While many more studies need to be done, the initial findings are promising. THCA is also thought to help with pain management, nausea, appetite loss, inflammation, and sleep.
CBG (Cannabigerol) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. In animal models of colorectal cancer, CBG was shown to inhibit tumor growth. Much more research needs to be done but CBG could be a powerful tool in cancer treatments.
It’s also been said that CBG can increase socialness and openness with others which can help with depression.
If you’re sensitive to THC, CBG can help buffer the psycho-activity – alleviating paranoia and anxiety that sometimes comes with over consumption of THC.
THC – (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is the most common cannabinoid in cannabis. It’s the cannabinoid that causes the signature marijuana euphoric high but it also can help relieve pain and nausea, reduce inflammation, and can act as an antioxidant.
CBD (Cannabidiol) seems to be everywhere these days. From grocery stores and gas stations to dispensaries, CBD is having a moment. You can find it infused into almost any product. We always recommend buying CBD from a licensed dispensary because you can be confident in the potency and safety of the product. CBD may enhance the potency of certain drugs used to treat cancer.
There have been a lot of promising studies done on CBD including a 2019 study that indicated CBD could provoke cell death and make glioblastoma cells more sensitive to radiation, but with no effect on healthy cells. Research from a 2010 study demonstrated the efficacy of CBD in preclinical models of metastatic breast cancer. The study found that CBD significantly reduced breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion. A 2014 study in experimental models of colon cancer in vivo suggests that CBD may inhibit the spread of colorectal cancer cells.
Cannabis Products & Cancer:
The most popular way to consume cannabis, flower, is also the traditional way to consume it. Enjoy flower in a pre-roll, pipe, or bong. Check out some of the strains listed above from your favorite brands. You can see our current menu and start an online order for East LA here and Culver City here. If you’re not sure, ask one of our budtenders.
Depending on what issues you’re facing, we have numerous vapes that may help. Vapes are easy and discrete compared to flower and many of our customers prefer it for that reason. For some great vape options, check out Jetty’s Session CBD cartridges or Blue Dream from Bloom.
Plain Jane Tincture from High Gorgeous
This lightly sweetened formula with CBD and MCT oil from High Gorgeous, delivers non-psychoactive CBD along with an enjoyable taste. Each bottle contains around 600mg CBD with an easy to dose dropper making this a great choice for medical users.
Papa and Barkley 30:1 tincture
Papa and Barkley tinctures have an earthy and distinct cannabis taste to them. You can take them straight or add a few drops to a mocktail or food. It’s easy to dose and is 100% solvent and chemical free.
Papa and Barkley THCa tincture
Papa & Barkley’s Living Tincture, the only raw THCa tincture made with fresh-frozen cannabis and MCT oil, promotes overall wellness with a full spectrum of cannabinoids and natural terpene profile. Whole Plant Lipid Infusion. 100% Solvent & Chemical Free.
Marys Medicinal CBD tinctures and capsules
Mary’s Medicinals is a respected brand our customers love. They offer a wide range of formulas to choose from depending on what cannabinoids and what effects you’re looking for. Talk to a budtender to find the right one for you.
Not sure what’s right for you? Reach out to us or talk to one of our budtenders and let them know what you’d like help with and always talk to your doctor before adding anything to your cancer treatment regime.