THE RESEARCH BEHIND MEDICAL MARIJUANA AND CANCER
With legalization, research into cannabis’ interaction with cancer and its cells has been ever-increasing. Even if you don’t partake, it’s probable you’ve been affected by cancer in some way and understand the drive for a cure of the condition. As for Medical Marijuana Orlando, many patients are already being recommended cannabis to inhibit cancer growth or alleviate symptoms. So, as stigmas lift on medical marijuana use, is cannabis the answer? Here we’ll review the research behind the growth of cannabis use for cancer and the promise it could provide.
HOW CANNABIS AND CANCER CELLS INTERACT
To better understand how cannabis is being researched for use against cancer, it’s important to understand how cannabis works internally. The cannabis plant contains nearly 400 cannabinoids at varying levels. The most well-known cannabinoids being THC and CBD. Like THC and CBD, every cannabinoid has its own specific effects.
When outside cannabinoids enter the body, they interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system serves as a group of messengers throughout the body. The endocannabinoid receptors send signals to regulate varying systems, like the central nervous system, the brain, digestive system, glands, etc. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact with these receptors implementing their effects.
Over the last few years, the connection between the endocannabinoid system and tumorous cancer growths has been further explored. Especially the CB1 and CB2 receptors that are found heavily in the central nervous and immune systems, and are directly influenced by cannabis. This relationship is key in discovering the benefits of cannabinoids’ effects on cancer cells directly which form dangerous tumors. Next, let’s explore medical marijuana and its anti-tumor actions and ability.
CANNABIS AND TUMOR GROWTH
In the 1990s, a 2-year study was launched by the US National Toxicology Program to decipher if cannabinoids could be carcinogens. The results proved to be quite the contrary. This trial was one of the first to show medical marijuana as a treatment for reducing tumor growth.
The study conducted on rats showed that THC had the ability to decrease benign tumors like polyps and adenomas. While benign tumors are not the same as cancerous tumors, they are similar in how they form. When cells are damaged or old, they die off and are typically replaced with healthy new cells. In the case of a tumor, the dead cells stay put and form a growth. Cancerous cells and tumors grow in the same fashion, however, they’re able to enter tissue around them causing a spread throughout the body.
Through this research and similar studies that followed, experts have summarized the science behind cannabis’ ability to decrease cancerous tumors. It appears that not only do cannabinoids kill tumor cells, but they work to protect the cells around them. For example, in one study on mice and rats through the CB1 receptor, cannabinoids successfully reduced glioma tumors, while protecting normal glial cells. Glial cells act as protectors between neurons, supplying nutrients and oxygen, destroying harmful pathogens and removing dead cells, too.
The complexities of cannabis and cancer are being more closely investigated, as researchers fight for a cure or aid against the widespread conditions. While criminalization of marijuana had previously hindered the medical industry’s ability to do so, legalization is opening up all-new avenues for experts to explore.
STUDIES ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA AND CANCER
Earlier studies conducted in the 1970s also showed THC’s anti-cancer abilities. In fact, in 1975 researchers proved that THC reduced the growth of lung cancer cells in mice while extending their life span by 36%. But this was during a time of politics looking to classify marijuana as a ‘drug’, or controlled substance. Unfortunately, by 1976 the government banned all federal funding for cannabis-related research.
Hence, the revival of clinical trials in today’s modern era with widespread legalization of medical marijuana. Recently, there’s been a resurgence of research shining light on cannabis’ success in combating cancer. With the FDA even approving two medications containing compounds based off of marijuana’s beneficial cannabinoids.
To catch you up, here are just a few of the latest findings that can provide hope for medical marijuana Kissimmee users seeking treatment for cancer.
- Cannabis has the ability to promote apoptosis. Apoptosis is the body’s method of clearing cells. All human body cells have a life cycle, in which they are born, live and then die. Upon the death of cells, they are absorbed by the body and replaced with new cells. This is apoptosis. However, when this mechanism is hindered cells will live for longer periods of time and are more likely to mutate into cancer. By medical marijuana promoting the clearing of cells, scientists are hopeful it may be able to prevent cancer cells from forming at all.
- Cannabis has the ability to slow down the growth of cancer cells. In three separate studies, CBD and THC were shown to slow down the growth of cancer cells. THC was successful in slowing the growth of lung cancer cells, while CBD proved to be successful against the growth of colon cancer cells. Both THC and CBD have shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, as well.
- Cannabis can inhibit pathways to cancerous tumors. Angiogenesis is the body’s process of new blood vessels being formed. For cancer, angiogenesis can occur to deliver blood supply to tumors for them to continue living. Studies are showing that cannabis inhibits the process of angiogenesis, essentially blocking the pathways for cancerous tumors to thrive and spread.
- Cannabis can block malignant growths. Metastasis is the development of secondary cancer growth’s outside of the cancer’s primary site. Cannabinoids effectively inhibit the migration of these cells, in cervical, lung and glioma cancer cells. Helping to contain the spread of cancer, outside of its original source.