As battles around cannabis’ medical and recreational use are at their fullest, scientists have been conducting studies that prove marijuana’s great potential in contributing to our better health. Along with many other health issues, there’s been a scientific success discovering that we can really give cannabis a go here, too.
According to statistics, lung and bronchus cancer is among the leading ones in the American population, with estimationx of over half a million of people having it in 2014 and more than 220 thousand new cases in 2017. Only 18% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer make it to 5-year survival rate, and a quarter of those who succumbed to the disease in 2017 had had lung cancer. So this is a problem of grave importance for the whole nation. What does cannabis have to offer?
An extensive study, conducted by Harvard researchers back in 2007, shows that Delta-Tetrahydrocannabinoid, also referred to as THC, has the potential for inhibition of certain lung cancer cells’ growth by half.
The researchers implanted human lung cancer cells into mice subjects, thus triggering tumor growth in animals. Afterwards, they had been injecting them regularly with THC for three weeks. Comparison of subjects who had received THC injections with the control group has demonstrated that tumor spread in the former one has stopped, with tumors having reduced in weight and size by about 50%. Furthermore, the therapy resulted into reducing of cancer lesions in lungs of mice by 60%, as well as considerable decrease in protein markers which are associated with cancer advancement.
The importance of such studies lies also in adding to breaking the stigma around use of cannabis for medical purposes, even though its benefits have already been acknowledged by official institutions like National Cancer Institute. Moreover, its value is of particular significance in case of lung cancer, as there are certain types of lung cancer that happen to be both aggressively spreading and quite resistant to chemotherapy due to over-expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Still, no clinical studies have been done yet, so the question of whether THC has the same impressive effect on cancer cells in humans is still to be answered. Anyway, even though descheduling of the substance seems an unlikely event to happen in the near future, further studies and trialswithout any doubt hugely contribute to loosening the ties over the whole issue of marijuana use in the US.
However, it must be pointed out that marijuana’s ability to kill certain cancer cells or stop their spreading does not mean that this is a cure! Even though there are a number of studies and pre-clinical trials that prove cannabis to be effective to a certain extent, it is vital to always keep in mind that there is a huge variety of cancer types and ways it develops, as well as human organisms and contexts they go through their battle with the disease within.
It is vital not to fall into illusion of improvement of one’s condition which is often caused by marijuana’s mood boosting effect. Even if proven extremely helpful, cannabis must not replace other existing methods of treatment and become the only thing a person relies on.