Palliative Care

How can medical cannabis help in Palliative Care?

Overview


Palliative care, also often known as end-of-life care, refers to supportive treatment and care given to patients with terminal illnesses or who are close to passing. The aim of palliative care is to help patients have a good quality of life, as well as helping them to be as active as possible in the time they have left.

Complex and overlapping symptoms are often experienced by patients suffering terminal and end-of-life illnesses. With patient comfort and happiness at the forefront of our treatment, medical cannabis can offer effective treatment.

There are a range of different conditions that can require palliative care at all ages. This will most often be given in a hospice or hospital, with some treatments able to allow patients to return to their own homes for care.

Some common conditions that may need palliative care include:

  • Terminal cancers
  • Kidney failure
  • Parkinson’s
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma

This is not an exhaustive list, but palliative care will always be discussed transparently between medical staff, the patient, and next of kin.

As there is a wide variety of conditions associated with palliative care, that also means there is a wide range of symptoms. However, there are some shared symptoms that can mean palliative care is necessary. Depending on the condition, patients may suffer from:

  • Loss of quality of life
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of mobility
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Memory loss

Symptoms will vary from person to person, as well the length of time for which palliative care is needed. Medical professionals who are familiar with individual patient history can offer more precise guidance on timelines and what kind of symptoms to expect.

Palliative care depends on the individual needs of the patient and their loved ones. However, some common forms of treatment include:

  • Managing physical symptoms, such as chronic pain
  • Emotional, spiritual, and psychological support
  • Social care, including help with things like washing, dressing, or eating
  • Emotional support for family and friends. 
  • Domestic assistance when living at home, such as shopping for groceries, transport, and other household necessities

How we can help


Palliative care often requires knowledgeable and delicate treatment. By taking each individual case and tailoring prescriptions to the patients’ specific needs and lifestyle requirements, medical cannabis therapy can provide relief where traditional options have failed.

Medical cannabis has been proven to help manage symptoms of terminal conditions, including cancer, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis, among others. What’s more, it can also help to manage chronic pain that goes along with many terminal conditions that require palliative care.

For example this study from 2019 in the United States, ‘Medical Cannabis: Effects on Opioid and Benzodiazepine Requirements for Pain Control’ provided evidence that patients suffering from chronic pain exhibited a significant reduction in pain symptoms when treated with medical cannabis. 

On top of that, opioids are often a common choice for helping with chronic pain. Medical cannabis is already being put forward by experts as an alternative medication to opioids, reducing the risk of developing a dependency and other unwanted side-effects. This study, ‘Cannabis as an adjunct to or substitute for opiates in the treatment of chronic pain’, states that cannabis can help lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain. That means fewer opiates are used and reduces the impact of the associated side-effects.

It’s vital that palliative care is able to adapt and develop with a patient’s needs as time goes on. With a ‘starting low and going slow’ approach, we are able to review and adjust your medication options throughout the treatment process.

The Medical Cannabis Clinics’ team is dedicated to raising awareness about how medical cannabis can help with palliative care. Our experts are ready to cooperate with you and your individual needs to find a treatment plan that works for you. Your prescription can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances and needs, with ongoing support and adjustments made as necessary.

At The Medical Cannabis Clinics, we offer personalised treatment plans and private care for patients through online video link consultations with our expert specialist doctors, who will guide you through the treatment options available from the clinic.

Appointments start from just £49. Book a private consultation today and one of our expert specialist doctors will be able to offer you targeted advice and treatment plans, unique to your needs and symptoms.

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