Can You Get Medical Marijuana for Prostate Cancer in Missouri?
More and more prostate cancer patients in Missouri are turning to medical marijuana to supplement their treatment. But does it work? In what ways does it specifically help? And does prostate cancer legally qualify you for medical marijuana in the first place?
Prostate Cancer and Medical Marijuana in Missouri
If you would like to pursue medical marijuana as part of your treatment, the good news is that the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services recognizes cancer as a qualifying condition. All types of cancer, including prostate cancer, are applicable.
In order to obtain your Missouri medical marijuana card, you’ll need to undergo an evaluation with a state-licensed physician who is authorized to make medical marijuana recommendations. Telemedicine and in-person evaluations are available for a medical marijuana card. Provide the physician with any medical records related to your cancer diagnosis, and also provide your valid state ID.
How Does Medical Marijuana Work for Prostate Cancer?
Studies into the use of cannabis for prostate cancer have been promising. Prostate cancer cells have been shown to contain high concentrations of the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, the very receptors that cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) bind to and influence. Spanish researchers examined how these interactions might influence cancerous prostate tumors, and they observed that cannabis was able to slow the growth of tumors and even kill some cancer cells by triggering apoptosis.
It’s important to note that these observations were made in a laboratory setting, and more research is needed to determine whether the treatment would be as effective in human cancer patients. Still, some patients are already turning to medical marijuana as a supplement to their regular cancer treatments.
Even if marijuana doesn’t cure prostate cancer, it may offer a number of supplemental benefits. For instance, various studies have found that cannabis may help with:
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
- Chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain
- Loss of appetite
- Anxiety and depression related to cancer diagnosis
If there’s a chance that medical marijuana may help to improve your comfort and quality of life during this difficult period, it may be worth pursuing.
Taking Medical Marijuana for Prostate Cancer
Accessing medical marijuana in Missouri is getting easier. Thirteen dispensaries have opened throughout the state, and nearly 200 more are on the way. When you obtain your medical marijuana card, you can purchase your medication from any of these state-licensed businesses. You can also designate a caregiver if you’re unable to travel on your own (you can do this through the DHSS).
Research shows that cannabidiol (CBD) may be particularly instrumental in fighting cancer cells, so ask about cannabis strains that are high in CBD. You might also want to choose indica strains over sativa strains, as indica strains are relaxing and pain-reducing while sativa strains tend to be energizing.
If you’re undergoing chemotherapy because the cancer has spread or because hormone therapy is insufficient, you’ll want to speak to your doctor before using cannabis. Marijuana can interact with certain chemotherapy drugs, influencing how those drugs are metabolized by the liver and potentially heightening their effects. There are safe ways to use cannabis in conjunction with chemotherapy, but you’ll want to follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Only you can decide if medical marijuana is right for you. But if you do decide to pursue it, it’s good to know that Missouri law offers a pathway to access.