Does Weed Cure Cancer? This Is What Researchers Have To Say
Cancer is a severe killer disease, and studies show that 30% of Americans develop cancer during their lifetime. Therefore, it is essential to look into all avenues for killing cancer cells. So, does weed cure cancer?
Weed has been a medical remedy for centuries across the globe. However, in recent years, there has been information that weed can cure cancer.
Scientists and medical professionals, such as the National Cancer Institute, have delved widely into this research. The two most studied chemical components are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Notably, marijuana and its associated cannabinoids have been classified as schedule 1 controlled substances by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Under American law, you cannot distribute, prescribe, or possess Schedule I drugs.
The US Food and Drug Administration does not permit the use of whole or crude marijuana for medical purposes. However, medicinal cannabis is legal under some state laws.
Does Weed Cure Cancer?
Research has shown that cannabis-derived cannabinoids can help kill some cancer cells while, opposingly, some work to accelerate the disease. Scientists have studied delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) and their potential to cause medical interventions for cancer patients. However, the studies do not show a direct correlation between weed and curing cancer.
The experiments on animals and cell cultures usually perform great. However, when administered to people, they typically fail badly. Additionally, research on the topic is scarce. In fact, there are only two early-phase clinical trials on public records, proving there is not much research on the topic. One of the studies published reinforces the idea that weed does indeed help kill cancer cells in the brain and causes minor side effects.
Therefore, it is wrong to say that weed can help kill cancer cells. Notably, research also shows that using alternative medicine such as marijuana might delay the impact of cancer chemotherapy, bringing out adverse patient outcomes. However, it is not all bad news.
Studies show that cannabis is very effective in treating cancer-related symptoms such as appetite loss, nausea, and cancer pain. Therefore, medical professionals advocate for using medicinal cannabis in managing cancer, but not as a replacement for cancer chemotherapy, especially when looking to kill cancer cells.
What Is Weed?
Weed is a product of the cannabis plant. It might be flowers, dried leaves, stems, or seeds. The cannabis plant comes in two strains: sativa and indica. Cannabis is home to over 400 chemicals, which fall into two groups; cannabinoids and non-cannabinoids.
Common cannabinoids include THC and CBD. The rest have not been studied. THC cartridges cause a headrush while helping with inflammation, pain, and nausea and acts as an antioxidant.
On the other hand, CBD counteracts the high caused by THC and helps reduce anxiety, paranoia, and seizures. The amount of THC and CBD varies depending on the strain and type of marijuana. Non-cannabinoids are generally flavonoids and terpenoids.
The body can feel the effects of cannabinoids through CB1 and CB2 receptors found in the brain, nervous system, and immune cells. CB1 receptors in the brain cause a person to get high or experience a headrush.
In contrast, the CB1 receptors bring out the medicinal properties of cannabis, helping reduce pain and healing inflammations, among others.
Interestingly, studies show that oral administration of cannabis treats cancer-related symptoms such as chemotherapy-induced nausea, cancer pain, and anorexia, while applied cannabis can help deal with inflammation and pain.
Cancer patients can thus enjoy a better quality of life.
The non-cannabinoids in weed are flavonoids and terpenes. They work to increase the aroma and color of the cannabis plant. There is not much research on their effects on cancer. However, research points out that they increase the intensity of weed.
What Cannabinoids Are Currently On The Market?
Although the FDA does not classify weed as a drug for cancer patients, it has approved certain cannabinoid-based drugs. Cannabinoid-based synthetic drugs deliver the same effects as naturally derived cannabinoids.
For instance, on June 25, 2018, the FDA allowed the use of Epidiolex, a cannabinoid extracted from cannabis (CBD), to treat and manage a form of epilepsy.
Epidiolex was thus the first naturally derived cannabinoid to be accepted by the drug enforcement administration in the United States. Additionally, there is Dronabinol, whose brand names are Marinol and Syndros, containing THC.
The drug effectively manages the side effects of chemotherapy, such as vomiting and nausea. It is also ideal for people suffering from weight loss from HIV/AIDS.
Consequently, North America approved nabiximols (brand name is Cesamet), a naturally derived cannabis product for treating muscle spasms and neuropathic pain. Nabiximols extract has a balance of THC to CBD of 1 to 1 and other minor cannabinoids. Nabiximol is effective for treating nausea and poor appetite to prevent weight loss.
You take it through the mouth, and it mimics how THC works. Nabiximol is already in use in Canada and some parts of Europe to manage cancer and multiple sclerosis. The FDA is yet to approve Nabiximol for use in America. However, there is hope shortly.
Can Weed Affect The Symptoms Of Cancer?
As mentioned earlier, there have been extensive studies to study on how weed can benefit cancer patients. It is important to note that no exclusive research has proven that weed can cure cancer.
Multiple studies point to the fact that cannabinoids benefit cancer patients from vomiting and chemotherapy-induced nausea and pain resulting from damaged nerves.
Different modes of intake give different results when it interacts with the body. Cancer patients mostly ingest marijuana by ingesting it through the mouth or smoking it. Edible marijuana can be in cooking oil, drinks, baked goods, and candy. Notably, THC in edible goods takes much longer to get into the body cells.
Additionally, it is impossible to know the exact amount of the product, which might lead to overdoses. Contrastingly, smoked marijuana delivers THC almost instantly. However, it has a less intense effect as compared to edible marijuana. Interestingly, smoked weed has also proven beneficial to HIV patients in helping increase their appetite.
Multiple clinical trials have been set to determine weed’s effects on cancer symptoms. When we say weed in cancer therapy, we don’t mean what you find on that corner by the street. The cannabis that scientists test on is the purest compound, giving more reliable effects of different cannabinoids.
Fortunately, Cancer patients in clinical trials for weed need less pain medication. Additionally, lab trials show that THC, CBD strains, and other cannabinoids can slow down or kill some cancer cells in the body. Besides lab trials, scientists have also conducted tests on animals, proving that some cannabinoids significantly reduce the spread of cancer in the body.
Unfortunately, drugs that pass lab and animal trials do not work equally well on a cancer patient. Infact, about 10% of the drugs that go past lab and animal trials and pass human tests don’t get into public medicinal uses. Many drugs fail due to a lack of efficiency in treating human beings.
Currently, two clinical trials on humans have been carried out. The studies go far to demonstrate that medical marijuana can help manage cancer. However, none proves that these compounds can cure cancer. Guzman and his team of scientists carried out the first clinical trial.
The clinical trial was conducted on nine patients who had aggressive brain cancer. The scientists Injected THC into the skull of the patients as a medical administration of THC. Fortunately, the trial found evidence that medical marijuana was suppressing the growth of cancerous cells to some extent. However, all the test patients died, not because of the THC.
Twelve and his team of experts carried out a second cynical trial. In this study, the scientists used 20 patients, where one group was administered cannabinoid preparation (THC: CBD at a ratio of 1:1) while the rest only got conventional medicine (chemotherapy). The cannabinoid in question is Sativex.
However, the focus of the study was the safety of using cannabinoids to treat cancer rather than their efficiency in reducing cancer tumors. The results indicated that the patients who did not receive cannabinoid treatment alongside chemotherapy survived for an average of 369 days, while those who received it lived for an average of 550 days. Also, Sativex was discovered as an effective drug in treating adverse side effects such as headaches, dizziness, vomiting, fatigue, and nausea.
Therefore, the study shows that the patients who combined cannabinoid treatment with conventional medicine outlived their counterparts by a whopping 27%. The difference might not be much, but considering that the quality of their lives was considerably better, it makes weed worth looking into.
The study was deemed too small to prove the advantage of Sativex in cancer treatment. Phase two of the study is scheduled to prove why medical marijuana is necessary for cancer patients. The study is set to take place in 15 hospitals and will undertake 230 patients. Patient recruitment was concluded in 2015. However, the project is yet to begin. The patients used in the study have various forms of advanced cancers. The results of the study have not yet been published.
Further studies show that partaking in the cannabis plant rather than just THC and CBD is more beneficial and improves outcomes. Interestingly, these chemicals found in marijuana work together to bring out the best results. Notably, it is the same when smoking marijuana. The terpenes introduce the entourage effect, making you feel a far more intense high.
Fortunately, these studies reinforce the idea that using conventional medicine and cannabis gives mindblowing results. In many studies to test cannabinoids’ synergy in cancer and multiple sclerosis treatment, scientists have reason to believe that the two can work together. The theory has been tested on lung, colon, pancreatic, and glioma cancers.
Contrastingly, some forms of cancer grow faster on exposure to weed. Additionally, cannabis can inhibit the immune system’s response to some forms of cancer, leaving the patient in grave danger. The CB2 receptor in the brain makes weed interact with the immune system, resulting in the body creating an environment where the anti-cancer response is limited.
Researchers Exploring The Use Of Weed In Treating Cancer
This field is of high interest since conventional medicine has not entirely cured all forms of cancer. The first group that comes to mind is the Medical Cannabis Research Group investigating the importance of cannabis in helping manage inflammation and pain resulting from cancer.
There is also Dr. Wai Liu at St George’s University, a researcher collecting individual accounts from cancer patients using cannabis therapy for their cancer. The documentation will benefit cancer patients in knowing the role of cannabis in treatment and pain and symptom management.
There is also the study mentioned above, where phase two is set to be published in the near future. The study is being led by Professor Susan Short as part of cancer research uk. The clinical trial is called the ARISTOCRAT trial, set to prove the effectiveness of Sativex, a cannabinoid drug, combined with Temozolomide, a chemotherapy drug, in treating recurrent glioblastoma.
There is also Project Twenty21 by the charity group DrugScience. The project is an observational study set to highlight the benefits of medical cannabis in the UK. The study is collecting data to inform the efficacy of cannabis-based medicine in treating conditions such as nausea, anxiety, and cancer-related chronic pain.
Does Weed Cause Cancer?
So, weed produces smoke like cigarettes. Therefore, does it cause cancer? There are far fewer researchers on this topic. It is hard to highlight whether weed causes cancer, mainly because people who have interacted with weed have also smoked tobacco.
Tobacco causes forms of lung and mouth cancer. Data from the UK collected in 2016 showed that 77% of weed smokers mixed it with tobacco. Therefore, researchers have difficulty disentangling the correlation between cannabis, tobacco, and cancer.
Tobacco is highly addictive. People who smoke both substances significantly increase their cancer risk and other conditions. Tobacco will keep you coming for more. Therefore, you will find it hard to stop smoking both substances.
In addition, no great studies document the connection between cannabis edibles and the risk of getting cancer. Vaporized cannabis has taken the market by storm. Also, there are scarce materials that register that these substances cause cancer.
Are There People Who Have Healed From Cancer Through Weed?
The most profound story you hear about weed curing cancer is that of Rick Simpson. Rick Simpson is a Canadian cannabis activist and engineer. After experiencing a fall, Simpson discovered that weed helped manage symptoms such as dizziness.
Later, he developed basal cell skin cancers on his hands. Simpson used cannabis oil which helped cure cancer.
However, Simpson’s case does not prove that cannabis can cure cancer. There are questions left unanswered, such as whether other interventions were used, whether the oil was the cause of the cancer remission, and where other factors were involved.
Simpson developed the Rick Simpson oil, produced by extracting THC from cannabis buds using a solvent. You can find the formula for making Rick Simpson oil at home on his website.
Unfortunately, it is illegal in most places due to high levels of THC in the oil. However, if your area allows marijuana, you can find the oil in your local weed dispensary.
Which Questions Still Need To Be Answered?
As mentioned before, research on this branch is still scarce. Many significant questions remain unanswered. One such question is the type of cancer that reacts to cannabinoid use. Finding answers to the questions is crucial since cannabis can escalate some forms of cancer such as breast cancer while slowing down others.
Additionally, clinical trials need to answer the question of the proper doses for treatment or management of the disease. Drugs are illegal in many parts of the world. Many people make them at home.
Accordingly, research must inform people because too much-ingested cannabis can be dangerous.
Additionally, people seeking marijuana for medical use often want to avoid the drug’s psychoactive effects. Therefore, there needs to be a study to answer how cancer patients can enjoy the medical advantages of the drug without feeling drugged.
Clinical trials also need to answer which type of cannabinoids are most effective in treatment. Is it synthetic or naturally derived? Keep in mind that Synthetic cannabis is legal in most places compared to natural cannabis.
Scientific research also needs to answer how to get these cannabinoids into cancer cells since they don’t easily dissolve in water.
The questions need answers before cannabinoids can be effectively used in cancer treatment. For cannabinoids to be used in treatment, they need to be answered, and their advantages must overcome existing medicine in the market.
FAQs On Weed As A Cure For Cancer
Does the fact that weed is natural make it better?
Many brands advise their users by saying that they use all-natural ingredients, therefore, are safe for use. These cannabinoid drugs use biologically beneficial compounds. However, other drugs for cancer treatment use the same natural ingredients.
Scientists use a pure compound and improve it into a bioavailability of a drug. Examples include colchicine, etoposide, taxol, and other drugs used in cancer chemotherapy. Therefore, just before cannabis is a natural compound, it does not automatically mean it will cure cancer. What matters more is the content of the weed.
If it works on one patient, why does it not work on others?
Many recordings of cannabis cancer-curing abilities, such as the Rick Simpsons case, are popular. However, it is impossible to know whether cannabis was the sole cause of remission or whether there were other factors at play.
These success stories often do not record patients’ history of medical diagnosis, cancer stage, and other treatments. Unfortunately, the success stories stress cannabis curing diseases. However, they don’t record the rest of the population who did not see any results or, worse, got even worse.
Should I forego my medicine to pursue cannabis cancer treatment?
Cancer can be treacherous. However, it is not advisable to ditch your cancer chemotherapy for weed. Doctors warn that doing such a thing would significantly shorten your life. Additionally, medical insurance doesn’t cover alternative therapy. Therefore, you will incur too many expenses.
Cannabinoids are helpful in cancer treatment. However, you must remember they have specific adverse side effects. For instance, weed causes a faster heart rate, which can be dangerous for people with undiagnosed heart conditions.
Additionally, you can be under some other drugs, such as antihistamines and antidepressants, which generally react badly to cannabinoids. Additionally, they could affect how the body reacts to chemotherapy drugs, causing the patient to experience life-threatening side effects.
Yes, you can make your weed oils at home. However, this also comes with a risk. For instance, some toxic chemicals remain during the preparation, which can be dangerous for your health.
Additionally, going online to buy this cannabinoid preparation is not safe. Some bad people are posing as legit cannabis preparations sellers. However, they use unknown chemicals, which can be very dangerous.
To Sum Up: Is Cannabis Really That Effective?
Cannabis sure does promise to help manage cancer and multiple sclerosis. However, its use in treating the diseases is unclear. The national cancer institute advises cancer patients to combine conventional medicine and cannabinoid treatment in managing cancer, such as chronic pain-related cancer.
In clinical studies, it has been demonstrated that patients with cancer significantly improved their quality of life after taking weed. However, doctors also advise patients to exercise caution when taking weed for their cancer because some cancers become more aggressive after interacting with weed. It should be noted that research in this field is still in its infancy and that there are still a lot of things to find out about it.