Cannabis, also known as a hemp plant, has been used in different countries for centuries. As a matter of fact, it has been included in the top fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine and cited as having active healing effects on hundreds of ailments. Cannabis and cancer is no match.
Over the years, medical marijuana has been a subject of most debates. Due to expert’s non-stop research, people learn to accept the fact that cannabis can be a treatment for symptoms of cancer. Today, there are 25 states legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Currently, the pending federal legislation may lead to opportunities for federally funded and extensive medical studies, including several human clinical trials. This will also provide enough evidence that the weeds can be a perfect medication for a variety of health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, seizures, inflammation, and cancer.
Medical Marijuana and the Endocannabinoid System
Professor Ralph Mechaoulam at Hebrew University Jerusalem made a discovery that changed how people look at the biological relationship to herbal medicine. Dr. Mechaoulam discovered a system in the human body that has a balancing effect on the rest. It is called the Endocannabinoid System.
The system is packed with a range of molecular receptors, which are specially designed to receive powerful cannabinoids. This consists of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. It is also rich with other substances, including cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG).
Prior to Dr. Mechaoulam’s discovery, researchers defined the substances as endocannabinoids in the 1980s. On the other hand, Phytocannabinoids such as CBD and THC come directly from medical marijuana.
Known as cannabinoid receptors, both CB1 and CB2 are designed by the human body to be the primary target for another strong compound – THC. The natural endocannabinoids are the ones that synthesize it. For over decades, researchers have been studying THC-cannabinoid receptor binding. Experts further investigate how it helps the body heal cancer in the long run.
In the 2000s, Dr. Christine Sanchez, a microbiologist in Complutense University in Spain has been studying cannabis and cancer. After extensive research, she found out that marijuana has strong anti-tumor effects. This is mainly because of the high presence of cannabinoids.
Medical Cannabis and Cancer
Dr. Sanchez, together with other researchers have verified that strongest effects against tumor take place when CBD and THC are combined.
Popular for the lack of psychoactive effect, cannabidiol (CBD) serves as an effective anti-cancer agent. It can interfere with cellular communication in tumor and instigate apoptosis. Other recent studies with vitro or animal-based trials have also indicated that CBD may significantly impact the genes involved in aggressive metastasis. It helps shut down some cellular growth receptors.
THC has also been shown to stop the spread of the tumor. Experts found it to have an effect on metastasis like cell lung cancer. Still, enough evidence is necessary to prove that cannabis heals cancer. Perhaps, it can happen in the future. Plus, the rate of such a serious disease will be lower than everyone has ever imagined.