10 Ways cannabis can help with cancer
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Medicinal cannabis is increasingly being used by cancer patients, both to alleviate the symptoms of treatments like chemotherapy, and to combat the cancer cells themselves.
Unfortunately, to date, there are no all-encompassing, conclusive scientific studies supported by diverse human trials regarding cannabis and cancer. As such, there is no research which proves cannabis can “cure” cancer. What is clear, however, is that it can certainly alleviate specific symptoms therein.
The lack of breakthrough research is largely due to the legal restrictions that continue to impede medical cannabis study. Even in the US, cannabis is still classed as a schedule 1 drug by the federal government. This severely limits medical research.
What evidence does exist is derived from smaller studies, animal and cellular-level research, and the self-experimentation of cancer patients themselves. We believe there is enough data and patient testimony to support the quality of life improvements and potential cancer-fighting properties of medical cannabis. That being said, we are a bunch of half-baked stoner writers and psychonauts. Nobody should be looking to us for medical advice.
QUALITY OF LIFE IMPROVEMENTS FOR CANCER PATIENTS:
The chemical compounds found in cannabis interact with the human body’s ECS or endocannabinoid system. THC is the most famous cannabinoid. It has been proven to be up to 20 times more effective than aspirin, and twice as effective as hydrocortisone as an anti-inflammatory. This research was featured in the October 1991 Planta Medica article Cannabinoids: the separation of central from peripheral effects on a structural basis.
CBD or cannabidiol the second most well-known cannabinoid. CBD is non-psychoactive and has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, according to the July 1997 PNAS article Cannabidiol and (−)Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants.
CBD oil, and more recently, CBD crystals are being consumed by cancer patients primarily for pain relief without getting high. A 2008 review of studies from the late-1980s up to 2007 found CBD to be an overall effective pain-relief medicine with no adverse side-effects.
Every regular cannabis user takes it for granted that weed will sooner or later give you the “munchies.” Cancer patients are one group of consumers who benefit from the appetite-stimulating properties of cannabis.
There is no exact science to validate the munchies. Every person has a unique ECS. Therefore, it is not possible to identify a majority effect for many things with marijuana. But anyone that’s had a cannabis session can confirm the munchies as a cannabis truth.
Every ordinary decent cannabis user can confirm a heavy indica strain with high-THC is your one-way ticket to Dreamland. Many of the most well-known recreational cannabis strains are popular amongst medicinal users too. Kush hybrids, Northern Lights, and White Widow have been used by cancer patients and insomniacs for decades to get a good night’s rest.
The more physical, couch-locking effects of indica-dominant cannabis are still psychoactive due to the high THC content. However, the high is not intense and cerebral like that of sativa-leaning strains. Modern CBD-rich strains can deliver the same calming effect with a reduced psychoactive effect.
PREVENTION OF NAUSEA
One of the most common side-effects of chemotherapy is chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). A 2010 study in Spain discovered some promising findings after using an equal CBD:THC ratio of whole plant cannabis based medicine (CBM).
The authors concluded, “Compared with placebo, CBM added to standard antiemetic therapy was well tolerated and provided better protection against delayed CINV. These results should be confirmed in a phase III clinical trial.”
REDUCES DEPENDENCE ON PHARMACEUTICALS
The US National Cancer Institute website confirms the potential for cannabis to reduce dependence on conventional opioid-based pain management medicines. They state online, “In a small study of 21 patients with chronic pain, combining vaporized cannabis with morphine relieved pain better than morphine alone.”
They go on to all but endorse THC with the following, “Delta-9-THC taken by mouth: Two small clinical trials of oral delta-9-THC showed that it relieved cancer pain. In the first study, patients had good pain relief as well as relief of nausea and vomiting and better appetite.
A second study showed that delta-9-THC could be given in doses that gave pain relief comparable to codeine.” As recently as August 2017, the US opioid crisis was declared a national emergency.
THE CANCER-FIGHTING POTENTIAL OF CANNABIS:
Anti-proliferation is all about preventing the growth of cancer. A 2006 Spanish brain cancer study was the first to specifically analyze the antitumor properties of THC on human subjects. It was also the very first study where the cannabinoid was administered intracranially.
The researchers conservatively conclude that “THC does not facilitate tumour growth nor decreases patient survival, at least in our cohort of brain tumour patients expressing cannabinoid receptors.”
Angiogenesis is essentially how a tumor feeds-off the body by developing new blood vessels. Cannabis can starve the tumor to death by interrupting the process. A 2012 study featured in the British Journal of Pharmacology was partially funded by GW Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of Sativex.
This report definitively concluded that “results indicate that CBD exerts a potent anti-angiogenic effect by widely affecting several pathways involved in this process. Its dual effect on both tumour and endothelial cells further suggests that CBD could represent a potential effective agent in cancer therapy.”
When cancer metastasizes, it means it moves from one part of the body to another. A 2007 US study discovered that “CBD inhibits cell proliferation and invasion of 4T1 cells (mammary metastatic cell line) and reduces primary tumor volume as well as lung metastasis in 4T1-xenografted orthotopic model of nude mice.”
A 2006 Spanish study is perhaps the best evidence that cannabis can be used to kill cancer cells. This research indicates cannabis can trigger cancer cells to kill themselves. It explains how this can be achieved as follows: “CB1 and CB2 receptors are expressed in normal skin and skin tumors of mice and humans. Activation of CB1/CB2 receptors induced the apoptotic death of tumorigenic epidermal cells, without affecting the nontransformed epidermal cells.” Apoptosis can be succinctly dumbed down to cell-suicide.
HAPPINESS AND WELLBEING
It’s no secret consuming cannabis makes you feel better. Some like to start the day with an uplifting, energizing sativa. Others end it with a dreamy indica nightcap. You don’t have to be a cancer patient to benefit from the mood-boosting effects and feel-good factor of cannabis.
Any psychologist will tell you that a positive mental attitude is advantageous when a person is confronted with a serious illness like cancer. If cannabis makes you happy and improves your sense of wellbeing, it’s an asset.
Note: We have taken the utmost care and precaution whilst writing this article. That being said, please take note of the fact that we are not medical professionals of any kind. Cannabis.info is strictly a news and information website. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.