Marijuana and cancer have been connected for far longer than the plant has even been legalized medically, or recreationally. It’s a long-standing myth that marijuana may have the power to ‘cure’ cancer, and some products’ potency might just have that ability.
But, as researchers catch up on clinical trials exploring the exact relationship between cannabinoids and cancer cells, we do know more about the connection than ever before. In today’s world of weed, most cancer patients are using marijuana to tame the side effects of common medications for the disease. But, with cannabis’ anti-tumour properties, science thinks there might be much more to how cannabinoids can help. Here we explored the topic, for all the latest information on medical marijuana for cancer, as an alternate way of healing.
How Marijuana and Cancer Connect
Studies dating back to the 1970’s have shown the connection between medical marijuana, and cancer. In fact, researchers concluded in 1975 that THC successfully reduced lung cancer cell growth in mice, overall extending their life span by 36%. Of course, this was during a time where political motives were set to classify weed as a controlled substance, or ‘drug’. By 1976, most government agencies pulled funding for all cannabis-type research.
Throughout general research and specific research, the medical community has figured out the inner-workings of cannabis and how it has the potential to influence cancer. The cannabinoids that the plant contains, like THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, THCA, and nearly 100+ others all interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
This system is a network of messengers that regulates and monitors others, for optimal function. The neural pathways of the endocannabinoid system are key in cell growth (like cancer) and migration, so cannabinoids can directly affect them in this manner.
The endocannabinoid system is also responsible for regulating and modulating the immune system and central nervous system, which is again key for cancer’s sake.CB1 and CB2 receptors are found abundantly in these two systems, which are primary receptors that cannabinoids can influence. Since the immune system and central nervous system are both prevalent in the growth of the virus, this is the second most influential connection.
Beyond these more broad ways that marijuana and cancer collide, there are a few other ways that cannabis is directly helping those with cancer. One, by taming the side effects of many common treatments and medications, and also reducing tumour growth.
Of all the research that’s been conducted on cannabis, and cancer, the reduction of tumour growth has been most prevalent. Here’s what studies have found so far-
- In research conducted on rats and mice, when administered THC, there was a significant reduction in hepatic adenoma tumours and hepatocellular carcinoma. Which is common in the case of liver cancer. This study also concluded that THC had the ability to decrease benign tumours found in other organs, as well.
- Another study concluded that marijuana’s activation of CB2 receptors and the influence over CB1 receptors successfully inhibited glioma tumour growth.
- Research published in 2002 showed that THC targeting CB2 receptors was effective at decreasing the number of malignant lymphoblastic type tumours.
- In 2003 a study concluded the activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors was effective at inhibiting the growth of skin tumours.
This extensive information has lead the National Cancer Institute to recently publish a statement saying, “Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their non-transformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death.”
Taming medication side effects
Most commonly, weed and cancer are connected to the relief of common side-effects. Particularly the side effects of chemotherapy that many endure for treatment. Some typical side effects and symptoms that cancer patients are affected by include –
- Loss of appetite
- Nerve pain
To demonstrate cannabis’ benefits for chemotherapy, we can look toward Dronabinol or Marinol, FDA approved medications. These medicines contain synthetic forms of THC, and are often prescribed to those undergoing chemotherapy.
Latest Research on Medical Marijuana and Cancer
The latest research on cancer and medical marijuana has entered the world of figuring out how cannabinoids are effectively combating tumours, and slowing the growth of cancers. One study researched CBD specifically which was successful at killing breast cancer cells. The trial concluded that CBD was able to achieve this by inhibiting certain signalling between cells.
In regards to another prevalent cancer, colon cancer, researchers saw something similar. Another study recently published that CBD was also effective at decreasing cell proliferation. The process of cell proliferation increases the number of cells overall, which allows cancer to grow and thrive.
Lastly, comes cannabis’ effect on apoptosis. The apoptosis process is the method our body uses to clear out unnecessary cells. Our body cells, like all living things, have a life cycle. When cell death occurs, they’re typically absorbed and replaced with new. If apoptosis doesn’t function optimally, dead cells will remain in the body and are prone to mutating into cancer. Experts from a recent study believe that cannabinoids stimulating the clearing of dead cells may be helpful in preventing cancer altogether.
Best Strains for Soothing Effects
For cancer side effects of treatment, and for promoting an overall comfort here are three top strains to help –
- Pink Kush – An Indica dominant hybrid with high levels of THC for relaxing body effects.
- Blackberry Platinum – An Indica dominant hybrid ideal for relieving stress, and helping problems with sleeping.
- Blue Guava – A Sativa dominant hybrid that is high in THC for relieving effects.
Cannabis for Cancer – A Natural Way to Heal
As detrimental as cancer can be, cannabis is proving to be an effective and more natural way of healing its most common side-effects and symptoms. Considering the number of people cancer affects worldwide, and the fact that nearly 617 Canadians are diagnosed with the condition daily…there’s a dire need for relief.
If you or someone you know could benefit from the healing power of natural cannabinoids, then MMJDirect’s extensive collection of premium goods is a good place to start. Not only is quality cannabis key for quality effects, but the online purchasing process is secure, and conveniently delivered directly to you.