The month of November has become synonymous with men’s health. The Movember campaign has brought awareness of prostate cancer to the forefront, with participants starting crucial conversations and collecting donations over a statement moustache. Movember has since expanded to address the disproportionate amount of male suicides and the mental health issues that are rarely heard or discussed. The range of issues Movember tackles may find benefit in some way with cannabis treatment, so we want to explore the linkage between the two admirable men’s health champions.
Sadly, males commit suicide far more than females. The biggest predictors can be ethnicity, age, medical history, previous attempt, lack of social support and abuse of alcohol. Chronic pain, especially in seniors, is strongly linked with suicide. The dependency and self-medication associated with prescription drugs and alcohol can leave men hopelessly trapped between being in pain, or intoxicated without relief.
Cannabis has been explored for its ability to lower alcohol consumption of individuals who are dependent, and research is now substantiating these anecdotes. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to reduce the levels of alcohol use disorder by regulating the gene expression of certain serotonin and cannabinoid receptors, as detailed in January 2018 edition of the Journal of Addiction Biology (Viudez-Martinez, et al. 2018). The physical effects of alcoholism which take a toll on the body and brain may also be mitigated by CBD. Reducing oxidative stress, inflammation and promoting autophagy are ways CBD can help steatosis and alcoholic brain damage as shown in May 2019’s edition of Frontiers in Pharmacology (De Ternay, et al. 2019).
All treatment of alcohol use disorder should be done under the advisement and supervision of a physician and/or trained medical professional. Yet, one of the biggest obstacles to men getting help for these issues is regular check-ups. Screening for common ailments is standard for men after certain ages. The chief of these ailments is prostate cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society notes that 63 Canadian Men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer daily. Of those with prostate cancer, 11 men will die daily. These sobering numbers should emphasize the importance of screening, but for those already battling the effects of prostate cancer and its treatments cannabis can play a role in recovery.
After radical prostatectomy and radiation, pain and nausea can be intense and unremitting. The prostate’s proximity to the lower back can even lead to debilitating back pain and loss of mobility in the absence of metastasis. The use of THC and CBD can help with the quality of life by helping with the pain associated with surgery and lower back issues. Specifically, any nerve involvement can be treated with low doses of THC in the form of an ingestible oil or capsule. Nausea from radiation or chemotherapy can be reduced with THC which can also aid in stimulating appetite, which is necessary in the case of chemotherapy-induced anorexia or anorexia of chronic disease.
Without awareness of men’s health issues, the solutions will never be fully explored or utilized. Cannabis is now widely accepted for a host of conditions affecting men and campaigns like Movember have been instrumental in bringing the importance of these conditions to light. If you or anyone you know is dealing with any of the above issues do not hesitate to seek help before it is too late. Furthermore, if cannabis could be of assistance, groups like 420 Clinic are able to provide guidance, education, doctors and access to medical cannabis in a safe, supervised and legal way.