Neuroblastoma

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Using cannabis and CBD for Neuroblastoma

Many people have never heard of neuroblastoma but it’s actually the most common type of cancer in infants. In this rare disease, special nerve cells called neuroblasts develop a solid tumor (a lump or mass caused by uncontrolled or non-controlled cell growth). These immature cells normally grow into nerve cells that are active. But they are still cancer cells during neuroblastoma.

Although neuroblastoma often occurs before a child’s birth, it typically does not occur until the tumor develops and affects the body later on. The chance of recovery is high when neuroblastoma is diagnosed and treated in the infancy. With treatment, many children with neuroblastoma have a good chance of surviving. In general, neuroblastoma has a better outcome if cancer hasn’t spread or if the child is younger than 1 year old when diagnosed. High-risk neuroblastoma is harder to cure and is more likely to become resistant to standard therapies or come back (recur) after initially successful treatment.

What is Neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma most commonly starts in the tissue of the adrenal glands, the triangular glands on top of the kidneys that make hormones that control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important functions. Like other cancers, neuroblastoma can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, skin, liver, and bones.

For years, averaging 800 new cases of neuroblastoma have been diagnosed by doctors each year in the United States. Physicians diagnosed children around 5 years of age for almost 90% of neuroblastoma cases. The average age for children is between 1 and 2 years of age. In some cases, it starts before a child is born and it’s rarely seen in older children.

The American Cancer Society states that in about two-thirds of cases, at the time of diagnosis the disease is already spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes. While a parent may pass on a form of family type neuroblastoma to a child, 98% of cases are not inherited.

Symptoms:

Neuroblastoma’s results can be different depending on how much the disease began, how much it has spread into other parts of the body and how many the disease has evolved.

The initial symptoms are often vague, with high tiredness, irritability, loss of appetite and fever.

Neuroblastoma can, however, be difficult to diagnose because of the slow growth of these early signals and the symptoms of other types of common children’s disease.

In young children, neuroblastoma often is discovered when a parent or doctor feels an unusual lump or mass somewhere in the child’s body — most often in the abdomen, though tumors also can appear in the neck, chest, and elsewhere. More specific symptoms depend on where the tumor sits and where it’s spread. For instance, neuroblastoma may involve: 

  • An abdominal tumor is causing swelling of the abdomen.
  • A chest tumor is causing difficulty breathing.
  • A neck tumor causing Horner syndrome, or nerve damage, leading to small pupils, drooping eyelids, red skin and decreased sweating.
  • Tumors spreading to the bone can cause bruises, pain, dark circles around the eyes and pale skin.
  • Backbone tumors are pressing on the spinal cord and leading to numbness, weakness or paralysis in the legs and arms, inability to move a body part and difficulty in walking.
  • A rash of purplish or bluish bumps appearing like blueberries indicating neuroblastoma has spread to the skin.

Neuroblastoma may also release hormones, which may cause other symptoms such as rapid heartbeats, nausea, sweat, and skin flushing. In some cases, neuroblastoma children have developed an Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS), causing jerky muscle movements and rapid movements in the eyes.

Medical cannabis treatment for Neuroblastoma

Israeli scientists recently found that cannabinoids help reduce the rapid growth of neuroblastoma.

Researchers have found that cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have an anti-tumor effect in a new study published in Current Oncology, though CBD has been found more effective in both.

Research shows marijuana’s major cannabinoids like THC have anti-cancer effects, inhibiting the progression of cancer. In animal and culture models, cannabinoids have shown the capability of limiting or even killing the growth of cancerous cells according to NCBI.

The cannabinoid’s anti-cancer properties have shown to apply to neuroblastoma cells. Another NCBI study showed cannabinoids inhibited the cells’ viability and metabolism, thereby combating neuroblastoma.

The neuroblastoma tumors were assessed and tested for viability, cell cycle distribution, growth speed, cell invasion, and apoptotic cell death rate in both culture and animal testing.

Both of the compounds showed tumor-reduction activity and tumor growth effectively, although the effects of CBD have been more significant. Treatment with CBD also reduced neuroblastoma cell invasiveness and caused the death of cancer cells.

How CBD Treats Neuroblastoma

Medical marijuana for neuroblastoma helps treat several symptoms of neuroblastoma, including:

Nausea

Doctors sometimes use medical marijuana with other antiemetics, which have excellent results. The combination of these antiseptics, which indicates that patients can use cannabis together with other antiemetics that require better findings or as stand-alone antiemetics, has been suggested by research.

Neuropathic Pain

Neuroblastoma cannabis has minimized neuropathic pain effectively that traditional therapies cannot manage.

Researchers agree that neuropathic pain is a complex problem and that it is challenging to find safe and effective treatment options for people. Medical weeds can be an effective, safe and easy way to help children with this type of pain.

Appetite Loss and Weight Loss

Cannabis increases appetite for children with loss of appetite and associated weight loss. Treatment for cannabis and neuroblastoma will improve your child’s appetite and therefore increase metabolism. You probably heard the term’ having the munchies,’ which refers to food craves that can encourage your child to eat after using weed.

The Best Ways to Use Medical Marijuana for Neuroblastoma

While smoking and vaping are the most popular methods of consumption, doctors may refrain from recommending them for children. Consider other methods that may help.

Edibles

It may take more than an hour to have an impact on your child. However, if their stomach causes nausea, edibles will go directly to the source.

Tinctures

A tincture is a medical cannabis solution of alcohol or glycerine that your child absorbs under his tongue. They kick in more quickly than food.

Topicals

This may not be the best nausea relief, but it is excellent for localized pain.

Transdermal Patches

Like topical patches, transdermal patches contain large doses of marijuana. It is suitable for children who need effective care but cannot prescribe other approaches such as cigarettes or vaporization.

Being told your child has neuroblastoma can be overwhelming, and cancer treatment can take a huge toll on your child and family. At times, you might feel helpless.

However, you play an important role in the treatment of your child. It is important to learn about Neuroblastoma and its treatment as much as possible during this difficult time. You will be confident in your actions and help assist your child in the handling of tests and treatments. Do not be afraid to ask questions from doctors.

Personalized Cannabis Consultations

Whether you are new to cannabis and need to learn the basics, or are simply trying to achieve more positive cannabis experiences, Veriheal’s coaches are here to help. You have the opportunity to become informed about this wonderful plant. Book an appointment today with one of our compassionate coaches to have a private discussion about your cannabis journey.

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Data Last Updated 03/16/2020