Medical Marijuana - A Compassionate Option for Missourians With Terminal Illnesses
When it comes to end of life treatment, compassionate care is often the greatest gift that you can give. Missourians facing a terminal illness may find comfort in knowing that having a medical marijuana card can improve their quality of life during their final time, allowing them to focus less on pain, and more on meaningful connections with their loved ones.
What Is a Terminal Illness?
The subject of terminal illness is not comfortable to talk about. Being diagnosed with a terminal illness means a patient has a condition that is incurable or untreatable which will likely lead to their death. This means the patient and their loved ones have to deal with the emotional toll of knowing that their life is coming to an end.
According to Marie Curie, a UK-based terminal illness care organization, there is not a set list of illnesses that are terminal. This is because the severity and impact of an illness may be different from person to person. However, they do offer an example list of conditions which may be terminal. This list includes:
dementia ( including Alzheimer’s)
advanced heart disease
motor neurone disease (MND)
neurological diseases, like Parkinson's
It is important to remember that each of these conditions aren’t always terminal. It’s imperative that patients ask questions if a doctor’s diagnosis isn’t clear to them, especially if they have been told they have one of the above conditions.
How Long Will a Patient With a Terminal Illness Live?
The length of time that a patient who is diagnosed with a terminal illness has to live varies. Someone with a terminal diagnosis may only have days to live. Or, they may have weeks, months, or even years.
When a doctor gives you their prediction of how the disease will run its course, it is referred to as a “prognosis.” It can be difficult to determine exactly how long someone has to live, or how a disease will play out as your body reacts to certain treatments, so a prognosis is an estimate or educated guess.
How Can Cannabis Help With End of Life Care?
Knowing that a patient is nearing the end of their life takes an emotional toll, both on the patient and their loved ones. According to the American Cancer Society there are several stages that a terminally-ill patient may go through. Let’s examine how cannabis may help patients facing a terminal diagnosis:
Many people are afraid of dying. This fear can manifest itself depending on the part of death they fear the most. They may experience fear of where they might die, or fear of dying alone or in pain. They may fear the unknown - whether or not there is some sort of afterlife. They may have a fear that their life was meaningless and without purpose.
Discussing these fears may be one way to help manage them. Knowing what a patient is afraid of may assist family and friends as they help a patient to cope. Oftentimes, simply taking the time to discuss this can ease the burden of the unknown.
Medical marijuana has been shown to help with chronic pain without having the side effects that many end-of-life treatments have, which often leave a patient unable to communicate effectively. Cannabis has also demonstrated the ability to help alleviate anxiety, which may allow patients to relax and open up about their fears.
Anger is a natural response to terminal illness. Most people don’t feel ready to die. It is completely normal to be upset about having to face the end of your life, especially when it is earlier than you expected. The problem is that this anger often manifests itself by projecting out to those who are closest to the patient.
It is important for those in contact with a terminal patient to be caring in the face of this anger. This is also an area where medical marijuana may help, due to its calming quality. Studies have shown cannabis to be an effective tool when it comes to managing anger.
This is another natural feeling when a person learns their life is coming to a premature end. A person may feel guilty about the things in life they didn’t get a chance to accomplish. One way that loved ones may ease this is by assuring them of the impact they made, focusing on all of the good memories and accomplishments that person achieved.
It is also worth considering whether or not there are any regrets that person may still have time to rectify. If they are still mobile, but in pain, medical marijuana may be able to ease their pain enough to allow them to check some items off their bucket list. Or, at the very least, it may be able to help them feel good enough to have those important conversations.
It’s common for a patient to become depressed when they learn their diagnosis is terminal. Depression is more than simply feeling sad or bummed out. It includes feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, uselessness, and can go on for long periods of time.
When a patient is suffering with depression, their energy and sense of joy can drop very low, and it can take a huge toll on how that a person feels during the final stages of their life. This is another area that cannabis may help. Many studies suggest that medical marijuana may be able to help those who are coping with depression.
Nausea and Lack of Appetite
Medical marijuana is already known to help ease the pain of nausea and increase appetite. Many patients with terminal illnesses find their appetite diminished due to pain and extreme nausea, which leads to unhealthy weight loss.
A firsthand account from a profile published by the National Library of Medicine details patients who used medical marijuana to combat nausea, vomiting and a lack of appetite, including one patient who credits cannabis for keeping him from “slowly starving to death.”
Many patients facing the end of their life may face bouts of insomnia. This is yet another symptom that medical marijuana is known to provide relief for, allowing patients to feel well-rested, which has an overall positive effect on mental clarity and physical capabilities. As a matter of fact, many patients report that they prefer cannabis to traditional over-the-counter sleep aids.
Cannabis: The Compassionate Choice
Bringing up end-of- life options is never an easy discussion. If you or a loved one is facing a terminal illness, you owe it to yourselves to consider whether or not cannabis can improve their quality of life so that you can make the very most of the time you have left with each other.
You Deserve to Feel Your Best for the Rest of Your Life
Whether you are facing a terminal illness or simply want to explore your options to see if the natural relief of cannabis is right for you, you’ll need a Missouri medical marijuana card. If you don’t have your card yet, we can help you with that. Our medical team is standing by to take you through a quick and easy evaluation to see if you qualify. Schedule an appointment with a marijuana doctor online by CLICKING HERE, or give us a call at (877) 303-3117 to talk to a patient support representative.
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Missouri!