A recent review study by the United States National Cancer Institute reports that in preclinical studies, scientists have found that cannabis can kill cancer cells.
The US National Cancer Insititute reports that cannabis could significantly help patients manage symptoms during cancer treatment and the report also indicates that cannabis may prove to be an effective tool for battling cancer.
It is well known that there are several compounds in the cannabis plant that can be very helpful to humans.
According to the report, these two cannabinoids could also prove to have the following effects:
- Anti-inflammatory activity
- Blocking tumor cell growth
- Preventing the growth of blood vessels that supply tumors
- Antiviral activity.
- Relieving muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis.
So far, the FDA has not approved cannabis as a valid treatment option for cancer or any other medical condition but that may change.
Clinical trials required
There are currently no ongoing clinical trials of cannabis as a treatment for cancer in humans.
Cannabis and cannabinoids have been studied in clinical trials as ways to manage the side effects of cancer and cancer therapies, but never as a treatment for cancer itself.
The only published trial of any cannabinoid in patients with cancer is a small pilot study of intratumoral injection of delta-9-THC in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme.
Cannabinoids could have antitumor effects through various mechanisms, some of which are the induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor metastasis.
Another investigation into the antitumor effects of CBD examined the role of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) which has been reported to be negatively correlated with cancer metastasis.
In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to decreased cancer cell invasiveness. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their non-transformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death.
In another study, CBD has also been demonstrated to exert a chemopreventive effect in vivo in a mouse model of colon cancer.
It would seem that we are still far off from knowing if cancer can be treated with cannabis derived cannabinoids.
One thing is certain, cannabis can be a much better alternative to the opioids and and other drugs for pain management that are prescribed to cancer patients.
No one has ever died from smoking too much cannabis because cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the areas of the brainstem that control respiration.
And, although cannabis is an addictive drug, its addictive potential is considerably lower than that of opioids and other pain-killers.