Chemotherapy remains one of the most common treatments for cancer, and while chemo is effective, the side effects can be debilitating.
Even milder side effects like nausea can significantly interrupt your day-to-day life or impact your health long-term. If you can’t keep food or drinks down for long, you could face nutrient deficiency and other health challenges.
Can you get your medical marijuana card for nausea from chemotherapy? While the answer will vary by state, medical cannabis is certainly an option for people looking for nausea relief. In this guide, we’re breaking down how medical marijuana might be useful for people struggling with nausea during cancer treatment to help you stay well on your way to remission.
Chemotherapy is one of the most common treatments for cancer, and for good reason—since it targets fast-growing cells (cancer cells included), it can help shrink tumors, reduce symptoms, and destroy cancer cells before they reach advanced stages of development.
Unfortunately, chemo carries baggage. Side effects can include:
Both the side effects of chemotherapy and the logistics of treatment have the potential to disrupt your everyday life. For instance, if you’re receiving IV chemo treatments (the most common administration method for cancer patients), you’re likely visiting the doctor’s office more frequently or adjusting your usual routine.
Eating is just one routine that might be disrupted when you start chemotherapy, whether it’s due to your schedule changes, side effects, or something else. However, eating well during cancer treatment is paramount; helping your body get the critical nutrients it needs will support your overall wellness as you strive for remission.
There are two main causes of nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy:
Whether you experience CTZ or anticipatory nausea (or both), nausea and vomiting have a strong potential to interrupt your daily life—they’re inconvenient at best and painful at worst.
Your healthcare provider may be able to prescribe an anti-nausea drug like ondansetron (Zofran), but if these drugs aren’t a good fit for you, you might be in search of alternative relief.
Let’s break down what we know about medical marijuana and chemotherapy nausea.
One of the most common cannabinoids leveraged for nausea relief is cannabidiol or CBD. However, patients taking Sativex (a drug available in the UK containing both CBD and THC) also reported a reduction in nausea.
There are a few important things to note about using cannabis for nausea during cancer treatment:
The scientific community is still unpacking why cannabis can reduce nausea, but anecdotal reports and preliminary data point to an early conclusion: that marijuana can be yet another tool for cancer patients looking for relief.
Depending on the strain, formula, dose, and administration method, patients report that cannabis induces feelings of:
All of these commonly reported effects of marijuana could prove useful for patients on a chemotherapy journey:
If you’re thinking about using medical marijuana to combat some of the side effects of chemotherapy, it’s important to find the right method, stay consistent, and talk to your medical team.
The administration method is an important consideration for people living with nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy.
Let’s explore the three most common administration methods in the context of chemo-induced nausea:
If you’re treating oral, throat, or esophageal cancer, you might be experiencing additional oral symptoms like:
If you’re experiencing these symptoms along with nausea or vomiting and keeping food and drinks down is nearly impossible, smoking might not sound like an ideal method.
Oropharyngeal cancer patients might need to consider options that accommodate their general mouth discomfort, like:
Consistency is key for medical cannabis patients, especially people using marijuana to treat pain and physical discomfort (like nausea).
To optimize the effects of marijuana, consider the following:
Like over-the-counter pain relievers, taking a dose before you expect to feel symptoms can help you stay ahead of the curve and stave off discomfort before it starts.
During cancer treatment, your healthcare providers should know about all of the medications you’re taking—marijuana included.
Consider looping your medical cannabis doctor into any communications about your treatment plan. Your medical team will collaborate to both treat your cancer and help you maintain a high quality of life throughout your cancer journey.
Medical cannabis can help you unlock relief from nausea, vomiting, and general discomfort during chemotherapy. And if you’re looking for an accessible, affordable medical card solution, TeleLeaf is here to help.
Our team is passionate about connecting people with the all-natural, plant-based relief they deserve. Whether you’re trying to maintain normalcy during cancer treatment or you’re working through mental health challenges, we know that cannabis is a powerful option for long-term, safe, and effective recovery.
Reach out to us to schedule an appointment with a licensed medical cannabis provider today.
Cleveland Clinic. Chemotherapy
VeryWell Health. Why Do Nausea and Vomiting Occur with Chemotherapy?
Medical News Today. What To Know About CBD for Nausea