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CANCER There is no doubt that cannabis is effective at treating cancer-related symptoms and treatment-related side effects, ie nausea, appetite, sleep, and pain. Can cannabis actually “cure” cancer? The federally-funded National Cancer Institute has warmed up to cannabis as a cancer treatment and has even quietly acknowledged that cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in preclinical studies.  Cannabinoids can potentially reduce the risk of colon cancer due to its anti-inflammatory effects on the colon; Delta-9-THC was found to damage or kill liver cancer cells; Delta-9-THC had anti-tumor effects; CBD caused breast cancer cell death while having little effect on normal/healthy breast cells; CBD, when used with chemotherapy, may help make chemotherapy more effective and increase cancer cell death without adversely impacting normal/healthy cells. Cannabis relieves the symptoms ie nausea, appetite, sleep, and depression often resulting from cancer treatments. 

Marijuana Cancer Studies

  1. Antitumor Activity:

    • "Cannabinoids: potential anticancer agents" (Velasco, Sánchez, & Guzmán, 2012): This study explores how cannabinoids can inhibit tumor growth in animal models, and the potential mechanisms behind these effects, including the induction of apoptosis (programmed cell death) and inhibition of angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels that feed tumors).
  2. Pain and Symptom Management:

    • "Cannabinoids for treatment of chronic non-cancer pain; a systematic review of randomized trials" (Martin-Sánchez et al., 2009): This systematic review examines the efficacy of cannabinoids in managing chronic pain, including cancer-related pain, and found that cannabinoids can significantly reduce pain and improve quality of life for patients.
  3. Nausea and Vomiting:

    • "Cannabinoids for nausea and vomiting in adults with cancer receiving chemotherapy" (Tramèr et al., 2001): This study indicates that cannabinoids are effective in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which are common and distressing side effects of cancer treatment.
  4. Appetite Stimulation:

    • "Dronabinol as a treatment for anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS" (Beal et al., 1995): Although focused on AIDS, this study has implications for cancer patients as well, showing that THC (a cannabinoid) can stimulate appetite and help with weight gain, which is beneficial for cancer patients experiencing cachexia (wasting syndrome).
  5. Mechanisms of Action:

    • "Endocannabinoid system and cancer: therapeutic implication" (Parolaro et al., 2013): This study delves into the mechanisms by which the endocannabinoid system can influence cancer progression, highlighting potential therapeutic targets within this system.

These studies represent just a small portion of the research available on the potential benefits of cannabis for cancer patients. For a more comprehensive list, you can visit PubMed and search for terms like "cancer cannabis," "cancer marijuana," and "cannabinoids cancer." This will yield numerous studies and reviews detailing the various aspects of cannabis as a therapeutic agent in oncology. ​

Cannabis has shown potential as a complementary treatment for cancer, acting through several mechanisms that may help in managing symptoms, inhibiting tumor growth, and enhancing quality of life for patients. Here are some key actions of cannabis on cancer:

1. Anti-Tumor Effects:

Cannabinoids, the active compounds in cannabis, have demonstrated the ability to inhibit tumor growth in various types of cancer. This occurs through several mechanisms:

  • Induction of Apoptosis: Cannabinoids can promote programmed cell death in cancer cells.
  • Inhibition of Proliferation: They can reduce the rate at which cancer cells multiply.
  • Anti-Angiogenesis: Cannabinoids can prevent the formation of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow.

2. Pain Management:

Cannabis is effective in managing cancer-related pain. Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system to modulate pain signals, providing relief where traditional pain medications may not be sufficient.

3. Nausea and Vomiting Control:

Cannabis is well-known for its antiemetic properties. THC, one of the primary cannabinoids, can significantly reduce nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, improving patients' ability to tolerate their treatment.

4. Appetite Stimulation:

Cancer and its treatments can lead to anorexia and cachexia (wasting syndrome). Cannabis, particularly THC, can stimulate appetite, helping patients maintain their weight and nutritional status during treatment.

5. Anti-Inflammatory and Immunomodulatory Effects:

Cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation associated with certain cancers. Additionally, they can modulate the immune system, potentially enhancing the body's ability to fight cancer.

6. Enhancement of Conventional Treatments:

Some studies suggest that cannabinoids may enhance the efficacy of conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. They may do this by increasing the susceptibility of cancer cells to these treatments.

Mechanisms of Action:

  1. Interaction with CB1 and CB2 Receptors:

    • CB1 Receptors: Predominantly found in the brain and central nervous system. Activation can lead to pain relief and anti-nausea effects.
    • CB2 Receptors: Found in the immune system and peripheral tissues. Activation can lead to anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects.
  2. Inhibition of Adenylate Cyclase:

    • Cannabinoids inhibit adenylate cyclase, leading to decreased levels of cAMP, which can inhibit cancer cell proliferation.
  3. Modulation of the MAPK Pathway:

    • The MAPK pathway is involved in cell growth and differentiation. Cannabinoids can inhibit this pathway, leading to reduced tumor growth.
  4. Activation of PPAR Receptors:

    • Cannabinoids activate PPAR receptors, which play a role in regulating cell differentiation, development, and metabolism, contributing to anti-tumor effects.

Key Cannabinoids in Cancer Treatment:

  • THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol): Known for its psychoactive properties, THC has been shown to have anti-tumor, anti-nausea, and appetite-stimulating effects.
  • CBD (Cannabidiol): Non-psychoactive and has anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and potential anti-tumor properties.
  • CBG (Cannabigerol): Emerging research suggests CBG may have anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.

Conclusion:

While cannabis shows promise in various aspects of cancer treatment, it is important for patients to consult with healthcare providers to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. Further research is ongoing to better understand the full potential and mechanisms of cannabis in cancer therapy.

Marijuana Studies in Israel, Germany, Spain, and Portugal

Research across several countries has highlighted the potential benefits of cannabis in cancer treatment. Here's an overview of some key studies and findings from Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Israel:

Spain

Spanish researchers have conducted numerous studies exploring the anticancer properties of cannabinoids. For instance, a study led by Dr. Manuel Guzmán at Complutense University of Madrid found that THC, a primary cannabinoid in cannabis, can induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in brain cancer cells. Another study focused on the synergistic effects of THC and CBD in treating glioblastoma, suggesting that combined cannabinoid therapy might enhance the efficacy of traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy.

Portugal

In Portugal, research has explored how cannabis compounds can affect various types of cancer cells. One notable study by the University of Porto investigated the impact of cannabinoids on prostate cancer cells. The results indicated that cannabinoids could inhibit the growth and spread of these cells, providing a basis for further exploration of cannabis-based therapies in oncology.

Germany

Germany has been at the forefront of clinical research on medical cannabis. A comprehensive review of clinical trials in Germany revealed that cannabinoids might have potential as an adjunct therapy in cancer treatment. German researchers have found that cannabinoids can help manage symptoms like pain and nausea in cancer patients, and there is ongoing research into their direct anticancer effects, such as the inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis.

Israel

Israel has been a pioneer in cannabis research, with significant contributions to understanding its medical applications. A recent study conducted by Cannabotech and Hadassah Medical Center demonstrated that a combination of cannabinoids and standard chemotherapy increased the effectiveness of killing breast cancer cells by up to six times compared to chemotherapy alone​ (The Jerusalem Post)​. This integrative approach not only improved treatment efficacy but also suggested a potential reduction in chemotherapy doses, thereby minimizing side effects.

These studies indicate a promising future for cannabis in cancer treatment, although more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and optimize therapeutic protocols. For a deeper dive into specific studies and their outcomes, you can refer to sources like the Jerusalem Post and Frontiers in Pharmacology for detailed analyses and findings​ (The Jerusalem Post)​​ (Frontiers)​.