Cannabinoids, an integral part of cannabis, have recently been extensively researched, which led to many a health benefit revealed in the course of projects aimed at exploring the therapeutic depths of this highly controversial plant.
Cannabis is currently prescribed for patients with cancer, but only as part of palliative care, not treatment. However, there is evidence suggesting that it could affect cancer cells directly. One should be careful when making statements about cannabinoid efficacy, but the findings that have recently been reported are quite convincing.
More to explore
Cannabis can alleviate such symptoms associated with cancer and chemotherapy side effects as nausea, pain, and loss of appetite. The evidence being accumulated suggests marijuana could be used as part of treatment, especially if it is combined with chemotherapy.
A study published in the International Journal of Oncology last year showed that cannabis can kill cancer cells in patients suffering from leukemia, but its efficacy depends on what sequence of treatment is used. It is reported that it is THC and THCA (THC acid) that cancer cells are sensitive to. THC is a compound responsible for the notorious mind-altering effect, but it seems like it can have other uses.
Several studies in Petri dishes and rodents revealed that cancer cells, such as those appearing in case of brain, breast and colon cancers, are susceptible to cannabis, which inhibits their growth by hindering the processes of blood vessel formation. At the same time, it appears to damage cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. Still, studies in Petri dishes are not the same as studies in humans, which means the results are limited and cannot be translated to people yet.
An issue to consider
As marijuana is being legalized in more and more states, the US remain the largest cannabis-based product market, as its share makes up about 90%. However, its domination is expected to end soon, because Canada and Israel are investing into studies related to cannabis and have adopted new policies regulating medical use of marijuana.
Still considered a Schedule I drug, cannabis could have more medical uses, but research is hindered by legislation peculiarities and federal restrictions. With more compelling evidence appearing, the situation can change, as legalization leads to wider spread.
More information about the plant properties is required, because more patients are being diagnosed with cancer, partially due to the fact our population is aging. With more seniors to take care of, the government will have to face significant financial problems, which makes the need for alternative treatment options, which would be no less effective, urgent.
Still, one should be very careful not to be deceived by manufacturers of cannabis-based products, which claim their oil/pill/whatever can work a miracle. There are applications of cannabis that are approved and found effective, such as handling chemotherapy-induced nausea with the help of dronabinol (synthetic THC), but these are limited and do not include treatment proper. Before using anything offered as a solution for some health issue, consult your doctor, because consuming such substances can result in a variety of health issues and/or addiction.
Even if someone makes an attempt to persuade you to try it because it’s “natural”, don’t forget that most medications are based on chemicals received from plants, and being natural does not mean it is harmless. Cannabis use is not restricted for nothing.