Is medical marijuana recommended during chemotherapy?

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Q:

Dear Nurse Jessica,

My mother is a cannabis patient and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy. She loses her appetite completely after treatment and says that her food tastes “off” when she tries to eat. She also has restless leg syndrome and bad eczema on her hands and arms. Any suggestions?

A:

Working in conjunction with your mother’s doctors and holistic practitioners to support her process is highly recommended. Please note that my suggestions as a nurse are meant to be taken as guidelines derived from my personal experiences with patients and research. Enduring chemotherapy is exasperating, not only for the patient but for the family and friends connected. My heart goes out to your mother and your family during this time of healing.

Appetite loss was designed for Mary Jane in my opinion. Common strains for appetite stimulation that patients gravitate to include White Widow, Jack Herer, Super Lemon Haze, Girl Scout Cookies, Afgan Kush, Northern Light Special and Lemon OG Kush.

Trying a cannabis tincture/oil to stimulate the palate and activate the salivary glands may assist. The concentration of the oil will provide longer cannabis relief as she rests and allows herself to sleep and heal. Using affirmational healing and meditation may also assist with your mother’s discomfort. Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life is a personal favorite, especially for positive motivation.

Eczema can be treated topically with a thick infused salve or a light lotion. Both are used often by patients I see and seem to clear up dryness and relieve pain. Hydration and water intake are key. Internally, eczema often indicates that digestion is not in a good place. She can find great herbal support here with cannabis and with other readily available plant medicines. Some other common herbs that might be used for digestive issues include:

  • Plantain: which is soothing and can help to heal scars in the lining of the stomach. Great as a calming cup of tea.
  • Lemon balm: A garden plant that’s easy to grow and widely available at nurseries will help to ease tension in the digestive system while acting to calm the nervous system.

The emotional aspect can be dealt with through the use of another kind of herbal remedy called vibrational flower remedies. Check these out. Edward Bach pioneered this work in the 1930s and as a result his products and other flower remedies from other sources are widely available in the marketplace today.

Restless Leg Syndrome can really benefit from baths in cannabis infused salts, edibles and topicals that are applied all over the legs with generosity. There have been a lot of positive results with patients going for hands on bodywork from Cranial Sacral Healers, Reiki Masters and acupuncture from doctors of Chinese medicine. Energetic work is just as important to me as nutrition and rest.

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Written by Jessica Ferneyhough
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Jessica Ferneyhough, a registered practical nurse, brings a unique approach to care, empowering patients as a medicinal cannabis nurse and horses for healing advocate.

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