In recent times, there has been an acknowledgment from the National Cancer Institute that cannabis treats a wide variety of disease symptoms and has been shown to kill cancer cells.
In 1975, a study was published, that paved the way for modern marijuana research. After administering two marijuana compounds: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN), to mice with Lewis lung adenocarcinoma, researchers noticed that tumor growth slowed in some, and stopped in others.
Mice treated with THC showed prolonged survival rates, leading researchers to conclude that [cannabis] compounds readily cross the blood-brain barrier and do not possess many of the toxic manifestations of presently used cytotoxic agents. This makes cannabis compounds an appealing group of drugs to study.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant which produces a resin containing compounds called cannabinoids. It is grown in many parts of the world, and its use for medicinal purposes dates back to ancient times. Some cannabinoids act on the brain and changing mood or consciousness (they are psychoactive).
By most federal laws, the possession of Cannabis is illegal, outside of approved research settings. However, a growing number of countries, and states, like in the United State territories, and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana.
In the United States, marijuana is a controlled substance that requires a prescription or special licensing for its use.
Cannabinoid is the active chemical found in marijuana. It can cause drug-like effects throughout the body, including the central nervous system and the immune system.
Another study performed on mice and rats, showed a significant dose-related decrease in the incidence of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma, when given various doses of THC. This is the most known common type of liver cancer. They also showed a decrease in benign tumors in other organs.
Multiple studies have since observed the same trend with gliomas, lymphoblastic leukemia cells, and skin tumors. Glioma is one of the most malignant forms of cancer.
How Does Cannabis Kill Cancer?
Research suggests cannabis or marijuana may exert anti-cancer effects by causing cell death, modulating cell-signaling pathways, and inhibiting tumor invasion.
A 2011 study of cannabidiol, which is another marijuana compound, found that cannabidiol kills breast cancer cells by inducing endoplasmic reticulum stress and inhibiting cell-signaling.
Similarly, colon cancer studies show that cannabidiol has a cancer-protective effect and reduces cell proliferation.
In addition to its disease-fighting properties, cannabis is also an effective treatment against cancer’s many symptoms, like Pain, Nausea, and Loss of appetite, Anxiety, and Depression.
The main active cannabinoid in Cannabis is delta-9-THC, while another active cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), which may relieve pain, lower inflammation, and decrease anxiety.
There are multiple ways of taking cannabinoids, as it can be taken by mouth, inhaled, or sprayed under the tongue.
Cannabis and cannabinoids have been studied in the laboratory and clinic for the relief of pain, anxiety, nausea, and vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Cannabis and cannabinoids may have benefits in treating the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of cancer therapies (chemotherapy).
There is growing interest in treating children for symptoms such as nausea with Cannabis and cannabinoids, although studies are restricted or imperfect, to some degree.
Two known cannabinoids; dronabinol and nabilone, are drugs approved by the FDA, and can both be used for the prevention or treatment of nausea and vomiting related to cancer therapy.
Presently, the evidence that recommends that patients inhale or ingest Cannabis as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms or side effects of cancer therapy is not enough.
Cannabis is not approved by the FDA for use as a cancer treatment yet, however, there are ongoing researches on this issue, and cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory.