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Over the past decade, a wave of curiosity and scientific exploration has been surging around the potential of cannabis as a formidable treatment alternative for cancer. As our understanding of the therapeutic properties of cannabis deepens, it becomes increasingly essential to stay abreast of the latest findings about how cannabis can be helpful in cancer treatment. ENTER TO WIN $500 IN STOCK OR CRYPTO Enter your email and you’ll also get Benzinga’s ultimate morning update AND a free $30 gift card and more!
An Overview Of Cannabis
To get an idea of the potential benefits of cannabis for cancer, you must understand its components and various forms of consumption. Cannabis contains numerous chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, with the two most popular ones out there:
- Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
These cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates various physiological processes. Different strains of cannabis can have varying effects due to the unique combinations and concentrations of cannabinoids and other compounds.
Sativa strains are typically associated with energizing and uplifting effects, while Indica strains are known for their relaxing and sedating properties. Additionally, Hybrid strains combine characteristics of both Sativa and Indica varieties.
The best part is that you can consume cannabis in several ways, including smoking, vaping, edibles, and oils. Smoking and vaping deliver cannabinoids directly into the bloodstream through inhalation, providing rapid effects. Edibles and oils, on the other hand, are metabolized in the digestive system, leading to delayed but potentially longer-lasting effects. While you can find various CBD oils for cancer in the market, the best edibles for cancer patients could be anything that is CBD-rich.
Cannabis And Cancer: The Science Explained Through Studies
Cancer, a complex and relentless disease, has challenged medical professionals and researchers for centuries. With the growing interest in alternative and complementary treatment modalities, cannabis has emerged as a great contender in cancer therapy. So, does weed cure cancer? While cannabis alone cannot cure cancer, it may possess anti-cancer properties.
Let’s navigate through the scientific nuances, clinical trials, and evolving understanding of how cannabis may play a role in alleviating symptoms, managing side effects, and potentially even inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
You must note that the research into the potential effects of cannabis on cancer is still in its early stages, but there have been promising findings from both preclinical and clinical studies. Let’s look at these studies and understand where cannabis comes in.
Pain, a distressing experience that profoundly affects the quality of life, is prevalent among cancer patients, impacting their emotional and physical well-being. A 2022 Pharmacological Management of Cancer-Related Pain study reports that approximately half of the patients experience pain at the time of cancer diagnosis. Of those with advanced-stage cancer, nearly 80% endure moderate to severe pain levels. Chronic pain is commonly associated with cancer, resulting from the tumor or cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
Despite advancements in pain management, many patients still receive inadequate treatment. Traditionally, opioids have been the primary approach, but their limitations and side effects have led to exploring alternative options, such as cannabis and cannabinoids.
A 2022 preclinical and observational study has shown promise in using cannabinoids for cancer pain management. It sheds light on how CBD treatment for cancer may be a viable option for patients. Of course, more robust clinical trials are needed to establish their effectiveness and to figure out the appropriate CBD dosage for cancer.
Nausea And Vomiting
According to the 2022 Cannabis, Cannabinoids and Cannabis-Based Medicines in Cancer Care publication by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, there is strong clinical evidence supporting the use of oral cannabinoids to alleviate nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy in adults effectively.
Several meta-analyses have been conducted on the 1970s and 1980s studies focused on pharmaceuticals containing delta-9-THC, such as dronabinol and nabilone. These analyses found that cannabinoids were more effective than placebo and comparable to standard antiemetics available at that time.
A 2015 Cochrane Review, which included 23 randomized controlled trials, also suggested that cannabis-based medicines could be beneficial in treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting resistant to other treatments.
Loss of appetite, known as anorexia, is a common and distressing symptom experienced by people with cancer, and effective treatments are limited.
However, promising evidence suggests that medicinal cannabis may help alleviate appetite-related symptoms in cancer patients.
A 2022 Systematic Review of five studies compared the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis interventions, such as dronabinol, nabilone, and cannabis extract, against placebo or megestrol acetate. Although the specific measures and endpoints varied across the trials, only one study demonstrated positive outcomes.
In this particular trial, dronabinol significantly improved chemosensory perception and secondary outcomes, including food taste, premeal appetite, and the proportion of calories consumed as protein compared with placebo.
Cannabis And Cancer: Promising Treatment Options As Per Clinical Research
While cannabis is not considered a primary cancer treatment, it may have a role in symptom management and potentially complement conventional cancer therapies. Some of the ways weed and cannabis come together are:
- Symptom Management
- Potential Anti-Cancer Effects
- Combination Therapies
- Personalized Medicines
- Palliative Care
Risks And Considerations Of Using Cannabis For Cancer
While cannabis shows promise as a potential adjunct therapy for cancer, it is essential to be aware of the risks and considerations associated with its use. Some critical factors to consider include:
- Side Effects
Cannabis use can lead to short-term side effects, such as dizziness, dry mouth, and increased heart rate, if not taken precisely. If overindulged,…