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Where the Research for Cannabis as a Potential Cancer Cure Will Lead Us - Medical Weeds Online

Where the Research for Cannabis as a Potential Cancer Cure Will Lead Us

Where the Research for Cannabis as a Potential Cancer Cure Will Lead Us

Patients often turn to cannabis for cancer treatment due to the limited clinical evidence and the stigma surrounding the plant’s medicinal use. Many individuals seek to cure their cancer rather than merely alleviate symptoms. 

However, the question of whether cannabis can cure cancer is complex and remains uncertain. Now, let’s explore the research on this matter.

What You Should Know About Cannabis and Cancer

Your situation is unique, as every type of cancer is specific to an individual. While a cannabinoid might show promise for one cancer line, it doesn’t guarantee effectiveness for all cancers, even within the same organ system. 

It’s crucial to consult with your doctor before self-medicating with cannabis. Collaborate with your healthcare provider to assess potential benefits and risks tailored to your medical condition, monitoring the progress of your cancer alongside your cannabis regimen.

Also, consider harm reduction techniques, such as using dry herb vaporizers or edibles to minimize potential carcinogens and respiratory symptoms associated with smoking cannabis. Avoid combining cannabis with tobacco to reduce exposure to known carcinogens.

Advocate for the rescheduling of cannabis to facilitate research access and secure scientific funding for innovative cannabinoid-based cancer therapies. 

Although we commonly use the term “cancer” as a broad descriptor, there are hundreds of distinct types, ranging from skin cancer to brain cancer. Despite their uniqueness, all cancers share the characteristic of abnormal, uncontrolled cell growth. 

These cells may form tumors, which can be benign or cancerous and may metastasize, spreading throughout the body. Other cancers, like leukemia, may not form tumors but still involve abnormal cell development.

A Link Between Cancer and THC

The primary psychoactive component of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), induces its effects through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by activating cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). 

The well-known cannabis “high” is a result of THC binding to the CB1 receptor. Dronabinol (Marinol), a synthetic THC, is an FDA Schedule II drug approved for addressing nausea, vomiting, and weight loss associated with cancer chemotherapy which affirms the role of the endocannabinoid system in cancer therapy.

Rick Simpson, a medical cannabis advocate, popularized the use of cannabis as a cancer treatment. He claimed to cure his skin cancer using a homemade, full-spectrum cannabis extract high in THC, known as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). 

RSO, which is often administered orally, sublingually, or topically, has gained popularity for treating certain cancers. However, it’s essential to note that no clinical trials have tested the safety or efficacy of RSO in humans, and the available evidence is purely anecdotal.

Cancer and CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) exhibits potential in the treatment of various types of cancer. While it’s not directly produced by the plant (it is a derivative of CBDA), a growing body of research points to its efficacy against different forms of cancer.

During preclinical research, CBD has shown the ability to induce cell death and reduce cell growth in these various cancer cell lines.

Two studies specifically indicated that CBD can induce lung cancer cell death and reduce the spread and growth of rat thyroid cancer cells. It has also been explored for its potential in treating a range of cancers, exhibiting promising results in experimental animal models.

Will Cannabis Use Lead to Cancer?

The relationship between cannabis and cancer is complex, with evidence pointing in different directions. 

While cannabinoids like THC and CBD have shown potential therapeutic effects in cancer treatment, there are indications that cannabis may also be associated with certain cancers and could exacerbate certain cancer types.

The question of whether cannabis causes cancer lacks a clear answer due to the challenges of determining causation in real-world, uncontrolled conditions. The use of cannabis alongside tobacco further complicates the assessment, as some consumers engage in both practices.

Notably, when controlling for tobacco use, the relationship between cannabis smoke and lung cancer is not as straightforward. Although cannabis smoke contains more carcinogens than tobacco smoke, recent data suggests that cannabis use may be underreported in lung cancer patients. 

Additionally, the combined use of cannabis and tobacco might result in more severe and advanced forms of lung cancer.

A synthesis of studies has suggested that cannabis use might reduce the risk for certain types of non-testicular cancer. It’s crucial to note that this synthesis did not assess cannabis use and the overall risk of cancer.