Search the Internet today and you’ll find that Cannabis is the subject of many promising theories regarding its medical effects. While many of these claims will have clear scientific evidence to support them, others do not hold up when placed under the microscope. One of the most prevalent theories regarding cannabis is that it can somehow cure cancer. This idea may have come about in a few ways which we will discuss further in this article.
Cannabis has often found itself in the spotlight of anti-drug hysteria and the target of unfounded claims that it harms health in ways unsupported by the science. Not until recently, though, as cannabis emerges out of the shadows into the mainstream and bloggers race to uncover the latest miracle properties of the plant, have unfounded claims about the medical benefits of cannabis been so prevalent.
Certainly, there are major medical benefits to the use of cannabis. But is curing cancer one of the plant's magical properties? We'll explore the question in this article.
Can Cannabis Cure Cancer?
The simple answer is no. There is no hard scientific research that actually proves that cannabis cures cancer, kills cancer cells in humans, or prevents the growth of cancerous cells once they have proliferated.
So where did the notion that cannabis kills cancer cells originate? One explanation is a study that found that cannabis killed cancer cells in a petri dish. The important takeaway from this study is that although cannabis did succeed in killing cancer cells in a petri dish, this does not mean that it works the same way in human bodies' that are much more complicated environments than a petri dish in a laboratory. Many substances that can kill biological structures in controlled conditions, as in the example of a petri dish inside a lab, do not work the same way in the human body. For example, bleach can kill bacteria in the petri dish, but, if introduced to a human body through ingestion, the bleach would simply make the person ill with likely no effect on the bacteria.
Other explanations for the claims of marijuana's anti-cancer properties include cannabis' popularity with holistic, natural medicine-based practitioners of healthcare who are overly eager to find cures in plants rather than in pharmaceutical drugs or other conventional methods of battling disease. The intention of sharing a potential cure for cancer may be pure, but it is dangerous to make bold claims about marijuana's ability to fight cancer in the absence of substantial evidence.
None of this means, however, that cannabis does not have potent medical benefits. Specifically, it has properties that can work wonders for patients fighting cancer. While there exists no evidence that cannabis actually kills cancer cells, there is a large body of scientific literature that cannabis can be an enormous benefit to patients with cancer, particularly in offsetting the worst effects of chemotherapy.
Proven Benefits of Cannabis for Cancer Patients
Medical marijuana actually got its start in California in 1996 on the back of the mounting scientific evidence that cannabis helped patients suffering from cancer treatments to recover their appetites and function somewhat normally. Chemotherapy, considered the gold-standard treatment of cancer in many cases, takes an enormous physical toll on patients who undertake it. In addition to killing the cancer cells, its primary goal, chemotherapy also causes enormous damage to healthy cells.
Cannabis use during chemotherapy is now widely accepted by the medical community as a means of improving the quality of life for patients. In addition to chemotherapy, cannabis carries enormous pain-killing properties. CBD oil, an extracted compound from the plant called cannabidiol, has been proven again and again to reduce chronic pain, alleviate anxiety, and improve sleep.
As a testament to the healing powers of marijuana, medical cannabis is now legal in the majority of states within the United States despite remaining illegal federally. More states legalise cannabis each year. This trend is reflected internationally as sentiment changes amongst governments and the general public worldwide.
Future Investigation into Cannabis Compounds
Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, at CB1 and CB2 receptor sites. CB1 cells are located in the nervous system mainly while CB2 receptors are found in the immune system. Because of the immune system's important role in cancer, we might assume that the activation of cannabinoid receptor cells in large numbers throughout the system has some important impact on cancer cells, even if we do not yet fully understand it. One cannabinoid study's researcher concluded of the CB2 receptor that its "versatile functions not only support its promising potential as a drug target for various diseases, but also make the undesired side effects almost inevitable" and went on to suggest further research into the CB2 receptors for the same reason.
Although there exists at the moment a lack of verifiable scientific evidence supporting the potential role of cannabis in curing cancer, that does not mean that such a discovery is impossible or that it will never happen. Much of how the cannabis plant works inside the body is still unknown and the subject of intense interest for researchers who, one day, may actually discover a role for cannabis in curing cancer. For the time being, though, no such evidence exists and patients are best advised to follow the prescriptions of their medical providers regarding the best course of treatment.
Research programmes are underway here at MedGreen Pharmaceutical in line with our aspiration to become one of the leading phytopharmaceutical companies to advance the science of Cannabis medicines globally. Through clinical trials, observational studies and pharmacokinetic studies, MedGreen is developing new scientific evidence to support the development of safe, effective medicinal cannabis products to treat a range of medical conditions and illnesses, including cancer.