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  • Is marijuana a safe treatment addition?

    my uncle was recently diagnosed tc and is currently undergoing chemotherapy which has made him extremely sick. it is difficult for us to nourish him or help him keep foods down and another doctor recommended marijuana, ingested through a vaporizer, as an appetite stimulant and nausea reducer. My question is this, will using Marijuana affect the performance of his therapy? has it been deemed as a safe addition to his treatment? his onc. wouldn't say one way or another, and his previous pcp is also recommending it. does anyone here have any experience with it? also, is there a preferred 'medical grade' device? I'm looking at the vip digital vapor device (for the temperature control) , the vapor bros model and the volcano, which seems to have the price tag of an expensive medical device, although i am not sure my uncle will do well with those bags (less is more!) Are there any other ones preferred for at home medical use? Also, would my uncle be required to get a medical card (he resides in Arizona) to possess / use one of these devices? Please feel free to email or pm me any of your experiences or links to studies about this. thx!pat
    Last edited by Karen; 09-04-08, 09:56 PM.
    Destroying the past one Idea at a time.

  • #2
    Look into anti nausea meds called Marinol or Cessamet. They definately do prescribe marijuana based meds for nausea. I myself was on Cessamet. Ask the Oncologist.
    Much Love,
    Mark
    I Love My Pack!

    sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by PatWheeler View Post
      my uncle was recently diagnosed tc and is currently undergoing chemotherapy which has made him extremely sick. it is difficult for us to nourish him or help him keep foods down and another doctor recommended marijuana, ingested through a vaporizer, as an appetite stimulant and nausea reducer. My question is this, will using Marijuana affect the performance of his therapy? has it been deemed as a safe addition to his treatment? his onc. wouldn't say one way or another, and his previous pcp is also recommending it. does anyone here have any experience with it? also, is there a preferred 'medical grade' device? I'm looking at the vip digital vapor devices (for the temperature control) , the vapor bros model and the volcano, which seems to have the price tag of an expensive medical device, although i am not sure my uncle will do well with those bags (less is more!) Are there any other ones preferred for at home medical use? Also, would my uncle be required to get a medical card (he resides in Arizona) to possess / use one of these devices? Please feel free to email or pm me any of your experiences or links to studies about this. thx!pat
      Pat,
      I hate this question- and we see it now and again.
      My answer is now, and always will be:
      Lay off the dope.
      It is illegal for a reason.

      If he is on BEP, it can affect how the lungs sound to his doctor.
      It can suppress tumor marker readings.

      I'm sorry your uncle is dealing with this, can you ask him to register on this forum?
      Last edited by Karen; 09-04-08, 09:57 PM.
      Stage III. Embryonal Carcinoma, Mature Teratoma, Choriocarcinoma.
      Diagnosed 4/19/06, Right I/O 4/21/06, RPLND 6/21/06, 4xEP, All Clear 1/29/07, RPLND Incisional Hernia Surgery 11/24/08, Hydrocelectomy and Vasectomy 11/23/09.

      Please see a physician for medical advice!

      My 2013 LiveSTRONG Site
      The 2013 Already Balders

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Pat,

        Mark makes a good point in noting that there are approved drugs used to control nausea based on THC, the active component in marijuana. Pharmacologically speaking, a drug that is inhaled acts faster and is more bioavailable because there is a direct conduit from the lungs to the bloodstream. The drawback, as Joe notes, is that smoking anything (be it a joint or cigarettes) while on bleomycin, one of the chemo components of 3xBEP that can display pulmonary toxicity, is a big no-no --you don't want to damage the lungs while taking an agent that can wreck them even more.

        While we are not in any position to make a recommendation on this subject one way or the other, do know that there are plenty of options available to mitigate the nausea-inducing effects of chemotherapy.

        Fed
        "Life moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller
        11.22.06 -Dx the day before Thanksgiving
        12.09.06 -Rt I/O; 100% seminoma, multifocal; Stage I-A; Surveillance; Six years out! I consider myself cured.

        Comment


        • #5
          Is Marijuana safe?

          Mark, Fed Ab, Thank you for your responses! This is just what I was wanting to find out. People in the medical community unfortunately don't go into much detail (probably for a good reason) to the family, but we certainly get an earful from society! it's been very scary for us, i wish i could say that my uncle would love being a part of these forums, however he keeps a good distance from computers. Which is why I feel like I should be the one asking the questions for him. Fed & AB, it sounds like you both good medical experience with this, I'm surprised his Onc. didn't mention it possibly interfering with his tests- that is EXACTLY why I asked to begin with! I would never consider recommending something to my uncle (he doesn't use marijuana to begin with) that could even remotely impair his existing treatments. The words being thrown around for his meds, tests, etc. are pretty foreign to me, and sound intimidating, but I've found that looking it up in forums like these helps me to put it in context so to speak... I'm happy to have found you all. Are there any (non-interfering) alternatives you would recommend?
          Last edited by dadmo; 09-04-08, 09:03 PM.
          Destroying the past one Idea at a time.

          Comment


          • #6
            Pat:
            Before I make any recommendations can you give me a bit of information about what type of tc your uncle has and what stage he is in.
            Son Jason diagnosed 4/30/04, stage III. Right I/O 4/30/04. Graduated College 5/13/04. 4XEP 6/7/04 - 8/13/04. Full open RPLND 10/13/04. All Clear since.

            Treated by Dr. Rakowski of Midland Park, NJ. Visited Sloan Kettering for protocol advice. RPLND done at Sloan Kettering.

            Comment


            • #7
              I posted this before, so I'll just cut and paste it here:

              Yes, marijuana can cause a rise in B-HCG.

              When I had a relapse marked by a rise in B-HCG Dr. Einhorn's first question--his absolute first question--was whether I had smoked marijuana. Unfortunately, I had not.

              And it is not like I had previously told him that I sometimes smoked (I don't). So, the fact that he asked the question with no reason to believe that I had smoked marijuana leads me to think that he, at least, sees a significant correlation between marijuana use and rising B-HCG.

              Comment


              • #8
                Please Note

                Although my 1st response was brief, the key message was ask the Oncologist. For tumor markers to be read accurately, and chemo to work correctly, it's imperative that the Oncologist knows everything that's going into your Uncle. In my case, I had Seminoma and didn't show any initial markers. Once they knew what was going on there was a specific regimen for tracking my progress specific to me. Now, if your Uncle has a set regimen and approved medications are deemed not to obscure any treatment, then look into the best medication that will work for him and relieving any of his discomfort. Don't mistake these responses as an "Oh God don't smoke Pot" but more of a "Don't do anything now without Dr's consent". There are medicinal properties to canibus in prescribed forms and it just may help. Just run it past the Doc's, and don't be timid on getting a second opinion on everything. Trust me, I'm only jumping on this one because it was the only thing that helped me in the end. Right now there's no better reason to do everything right.
                Much Love,
                Mark
                I Love My Pack!

                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  There are some very effective anti-nausea meds out there.

                  My cocktail included:

                  Ativana nd Compazine taken in tandem
                  Emend
                  Kytril

                  With the BEP and the lung effects, I would not think smoking anything would be a good idea....
                  Stage III Non-Seminoma- 7/11/06
                  Right I/O 7/12/06
                  Completed 4x BEP 11/06
                  Bi-Lateral RPLND (Dr. Shenifeld)- 11/27/06
                  Surveillance since then

                  When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.
                  Lance Armstrong.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by boyce View Post
                    There are some very effective anti-nausea meds out there.

                    My cocktail included:

                    Ativana nd Compazine taken in tandem
                    Emend
                    Kytril
                    Pat - I agree with Boyce - the products he is recommending are very effective. I started with Ativan tablets (3 / day), and that did not work. Then they added Ativan IV (adminstered while I went for chemo) and Campazine tablets (2 / day) - that combo was very effective. Talk to the chemo nurses - they are very knowledgeable, they were very willing to hear what was going on with me and make suggestions for additional products I could take to fight nausea.
                    Manoj
                    09.29.07 - visit to ER with severe pain
                    10.08.07 - Dx with TC
                    10.10.07 - Rt I/O. Dx - 90% EC, 10 % yolk sac tumor, less than 1% immature teratoma & choriocarcinoma
                    11.21.07 - (day before Thanksgiving) NS RPLND @ MSKCC
                    11.28.07 - Return back home, recieve lab report. 86 lymph nodes removed - all clear. Begin Surveillance
                    04.10.08 - 2 cm nodule detected in lungs
                    04.28.08 - Starting 4XEP
                    07.03.08 - 4XEP complete
                    end-Sept - CT Scan scheduled

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I also agree there are some great anti nausea meds you should try first but if none work and you want to try medicating with marijuana, I suggest asking your doctor about the medical marijuana pills. I know Danny was taking them for a short period of time...if Mikey is lurking, he will tell you.

                      I would hate to see you break the law with illegal drug use and have jail time on top of your worries about cancer. With the great drugs on the market, there should be no reason to risk your safety or freedom. And if marijuana is your only hope, there are ways to get it safely and through a medical professional.
                      Co-survivor with husband Boyce, Diagnosed 7-11-06, orchiectomy right testicle on 7-12-06- Stage 3A: Mixed germ cell tumor with inguinal seminomatous and kartotypic carcinoma. One tumor over 10 cm, second tumor 4 cm, Chemo 4xBEP: Bi-lateral RPLND Dec 2006, nerve sparing but left sterile.
                      Current DVT
                      Current testosterone replacement therapy, Testim.

                      "You must abandon the life you planned, to live the life that was meant for you" ~wisdom I have learned from my family on this forum

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Margaret View Post
                        I also agree there are some great anti nausea meds you should try first but if none work and you want to try medicating with marijuana, I suggest asking your doctor about the medical marijuana pills. I know Danny was taking them for a short period of time...if Mikey is lurking, he will tell you.

                        I would hate to see you break the law with illegal drug use and have jail time on top of your worries about cancer. With the great drugs on the market, there should be no reason to risk your safety or freedom. And if marijuana is your only hope, there are ways to get it safely and through a medical professional.
                        Exactly. That was also my last resort when on TIP.
                        ML,
                        Mark
                        I Love My Pack!

                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I used marijuana during all my treatments. My Oncologist was aware of it. I think I should mention that in Canada Marijuana for Medicinal use is legal.
                          I don't want to recommend it in any way but it helped me a lot with many issues so i'll just share my experiences.
                          Most of anti-nausea drugs I used caused massive constipation so I was forced to use more chemical drugs to end my suffering. I was also allergic to some of anti-nausea drugs (those that worked best) so I needed an alternative. Marijuana helped me with nausea. I had nausea when I was on Marijuana pills but never when used herb. I only had nausea during my tandem transplant - that's when I could not use marijuana. I always only used marijuana grown organically by small producers who do it for Cancer patients. This is very important. You don't want to use something that consists unknown chemicals (pesticides?).
                          Marijuana helped me with sleeping, and made me feel hungry and want to eat. I was hungry all the time and ate normally. It prevented headaches caused by chemo. It also put me in a good mood and that was priceless during the horror I had to go through.
                          When I read posts about lung damage from smoking..... there are many ways of using marijuana without smoking it ... (what about cookies, chocolate bars, vaporizing ?) - I use Vapir One Digital Vaporizer, ate cookies and cupcaces while in the hospital. And it was fun baking them. There were situations when my doctor told me not to use it but for that period of time they replaced it with marijuana pills which don't work that well.

                          Personally I think that it is a good alternative but I would stick to whatever your Onclogist prescribes. If it doesn't work tell them - there are options (and different that marijuana).
                          It's a shame that in some countries law prevent doctors from recommending some good alternatives. It should be patient/doctor's choice.
                          TC 1 - Jun/1998
                          Pathologic Nonseminoma Stage I (AFP over 600, HCG over 100),
                          Right Orchiectomy,
                          4xBEP,
                          Surveillance

                          TC 2 - Feb/2006
                          Nonseminoma Stage III (AFP 851, HCG 167),
                          germ-cell (embryonal carcinoma, yolk sac carcinoma), tumors in abdomen and lungs,
                          Left Orchiectomy,
                          4xVIP,
                          RPLND,
                          Tandem HDC/Autologous HSCT,
                          Surveillance (clear since Dec/2006)

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                          • #14
                            Every situation calls for something unique to that patient. My biggest downfall was eating after my lymph node removal as my digestive system was already ravished by Chemo. Nothing in pill form worked, not even Marinol. It was suggested to me by some reputable people in the medical profession to try medical marijuana which, indeed has spared me going back into the hospital. It helps me sleep in spite of the pain, solves nausea, and has most definitely allowed me to have an appetite. Being that I also have advanced HIV, those things are critical. Being a resident of California, we do strongly believe in medical marijuana here. It is unfortunate that we enjoy the effects under these circumstances but, it can be found necessary. I took the 3 med chemo along with smoking and my lungs survived even a collapse from 8 hour surgery. Doctors are sensitive to risks while sometimes, we have to decide what risks are going to apply to our determination and/or weaknesses. If your uncle can't eat... That sounds like a severe risk. I wouldn't be prejudice to any possibilities that would solve that. Recovery is not easy.

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