Is Medical Cannabis Effective in Treating Cancer?
Unchecked cell proliferation is what fuels cancer’s ability to metastasise and spread from its initial site of development in the body. A subset of cancer cells develops the capacity to leave a primary tumour and metastasise to other organs, where they can impair their function and perhaps cause death.
One of the most ambitious medical goals of the 20th and 21st century has been the development of a “cure” for cancer. There are currently no universal cures for cancer, despite the fact that there have been numerous effective therapies and medical advancements.
The use of medical cannabis in the context of oncology and the treatment of cancer is gaining popularity. It would be irresponsible for the medical community to promote medical cannabis as a treatment for cancer at this time, despite the fact that numerous anecdotal reports say that “medical cannabis has cured” their disease. In spite of this, medical cannabis is securing an essential role in cancer care while researchers continue to examine its capacity to combat tumours and control the adverse effects of an all-too-common disease.
The Anticancer Effects of Medical Cannabis
Cannabinoids have been the subject of recent studies for their potential anti-cancer properties, although more information is needed before the drug can be called a “cure” for cancer.
Autophagy and Apoptosis
Medical cannabis has been theorised to induce apoptosis and autophagy, two processes via which cancer cells are programmed to die or self-destruct and be digested by the body.
By binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, medical cannabis has been demonstrated to promote apoptosis and autophagy in cancer cells. Particular cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, connect to endocannabinoid receptors, triggering cell death signals throughout the body. Cancer metastasis can be slowed or stopped thanks to medical cannabis’s action on receptors; the endocannabinoid system is involved in cell migration, another process that can be slowed or stopped by cannabis.
When looking at the antitumor properties of cannabinoids, a 2016 study published in Current Oncology found that “engagement of a molecular target (CB1 and CB2 receptors) by a family of selective drugs (including THC and other cannabinoid agonists) inhibits tumour growth in animal models through a well-established mechanism of action” (a form of brain cancer).
One such way cancer might spread is through a process called angiogenesis. The process of angiogenesis, in which new blood vessels are created from preexisting ones, is a normal and beneficial physiological process.
When benign tumours undergo angiogenesis, they can progress into malignant malignancies. Because of the constant availability of nutrients and blood flow that results from angiogenesis, cancer and tumours thrive and spread when they are present.
Since the endocannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of blood vessel formation, it has been hypothesised that medical cannabis can uniquely tell healthy cells apart from malignant ones. Medical cannabis’ anti-angiogenesis qualities greatly inhibited the development of malignant cells, according to a research published in 2007.
In mice, large oral dosages of CBD significantly decreased cancer incidence within 18 days, according to a previous study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Studies in the Genetics of Cancer
In 2007, researchers reported that CBD might be a potential inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in highly aggressive breast cancer cells. The study suggested that CBD might be a game-changing anti-cancer medicine by turning off the Id-1 gene, which encodes a protein with a central role as a cancer cell conductor.
Complementary and alternative medicine including cannabis
Cannabinoids’ effects when combined with irradiation were first documented in a 2014 research published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. THC and CBD were used in combination with radiation on mice, and “dramatic decreases” were shown in high-grade glioma tumours, a particularly lethal form of brain cancer.
Although these studies, and the many more that are still being conducted today, are in their infancy, they do indicate promise for medical cannabis’ ability to aid in the battle against cancer in addition to more conventional treatments.
The promise of medical cannabis on an all-too-common disease can only be fulfilled with more investment in research into its anti-cancer effects, which is why Chronic Therapy looks forward to its expansion. In the meantime, promising studies showing that medical cannabis can significantly mitigate the side effects of conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy are currently going on in various parts of the world.
Common adverse effects of chemotherapy include nausea and vomiting, however research shows that medical cannabis can considerably lessen these effects. Medical cannabis is now being studied as a potential treatment for neuropathic pain, which is a typical adverse side effect of chemotherapy. More and more doctors are recommending medical marijuana to patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
Cannabidiol for Cancer Patients: Examining Its Potential Benefits
Additional studies are needed in all fields of medicine, including medical cannabis, to define what constitutes a “cure” for cancer. Unfortunately, the body of research that is available does not yet match up to the empirical evidence that is being collected on medical cannabis and cancer, despite the fact that many medical cannabis activists have emerged to share their story about how medical cannabis has “cured” their cancer.
In an effort to ease the suffering of cancer patients, we are doing research into the potential benefits of cannabis therapy. When treating cancer, we recommend that patients use both conventional and alternative medicine treatments.
Get in touch with Chronic Therapy if you’re interested in learning more about medical cannabis and cancer, or to also know more about where to buy medical cannabis in Australia and other medical marijuana resources, you should book a consultation session with a professional from Chronic Therapy today.