Cannabis has been making a lot of noise lately. Multiple American states, along with many countries around the world, have successfully legalized medical marijuana, and Uruguay’s parliament recently voted to create the world’s first legal marijuana market.
This is good news, as the health benefits of cannabis are vast, with multiple medical and scientific studies to confirm them. But what about the harmful effects? All psychological evaluations from the intake of cannabis are largely based on assumptions, suggestions, and observations (1). When we look at the actual science behind cannabis, it seems negative effects are difficult to confirm.
The Science Behind Cannabis
Let’s take a look at the science behind cannabis and cancer. Although cannabis has been proven to be an effective treatment for a wide range of ailments, this article will focus mainly on its effects on cancer. Cannabinoids, which refer to any of a group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis, may very well be one of the best disease- and cancer-fighting treatments out there. They activate cannabinoid receptors in the body, and the body itself produces compounds called endocannabinoids that play a role in many processes within the body that help to create a healthy environment. Cannabinoids are also involved in immune system generation and re-generation. The body regenerates best when it’s saturated with phyto-cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids can also be found in cannabis. It is important to note that cannabinoids are plentiful in both hemp and cannabis. One of the main differences between hemp and cannabis is simply that hemp only contains 0.3% THC while cannabis has 0.4% THC or higher. (Technically they are both strains of Cannabis Sativa.) Cannabinoids have been proven to reduce cancer cells, as they significantly improve immune system regeneration. While not every strain of cannabis has the same effect, more and more patients are seeing success in cancer reduction in a short period of time by using cannabis.
While taking a look at these studies, keep in mind that cannabis can be much more effective for medicinal purposes when ingested rather than smoked. Below are 20 medical studies that suggest cannabis can be an effective treatment and possible cure for cancer. This is a good starting point for the push for further human clinical trials.
1. A study published in the British Journal of Cancer, conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Complutense University in Madrid, determined that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids inhibit tumour growth. They were responsible for the first clinical study aimed at assessing cannabinoid antitumoural action. Cannabinoid delivery was safe and was achieved with zero psychoactive effects. THC was found to decrease tumour cells in two out of the nine patients.
2. A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience examined the biochemical events in both acute neuronal damage and slowly progressive, neurodegenerative diseases. They conducted a magnetic resonance imaging study that looked at THC (the main active compound in marijuana) and found that it reduced neuronal injury in rats. The results of this study suggest the cannabinoid system can protect the brain against neurodegeneration.
3. A study published in the Journal of Pharmacology And Experimental Therapeutics already acknowledged the fact that cannabinoids have been shown to possess antitumour properties. This study examined the effect of cannabidiol (CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound) on human glioma cell lines. The addition of cannabidiol led to a dramatic drop in the viability of glioma, or brain tumour, cells. The study concluded that cannabidiol was able to produce significant antitumour activity.
4. A study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics outlines how brain tumours are highly resistant to current anticancer treatments, which makes it crucial to find new therapeutic strategies aimed at improving the poor prognosis of patients suffering from this disease. This study also demonstrated the reversal of tumour activity in Glioblastoma multiforme.
5. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine, conducted by the California Pacific Medical Centre, determined that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion. They also demonstrated that CBD significantly reduces tumour mass.
6. A study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics determined that THC as well as cannabidiol dramatically reduced breast cancer cell growth. They confirmed the potency and effectiveness of these compounds.
7. A study published in the journal Molecular Cancer showed that THC reduced tumour growth and tumour numbers. They determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell proliferation, induce cancer cell apoptosis, and impair tumour angiogenesis (all good things). This study provides strong evidence for the use of cannabinoid-based therapies to manage breast cancer.
8. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) determined that cannabinoids inhibit human breast cancer cell proliferation.
9. A study published in the journal Oncogene by Harvard Medical School’s Experimental Medicine Department determined that THC inhibits epithelial growth factor induced lung cancer cell migration and more. They go on to state that THC and other cannabinoids should be explored as novel therapeutic molecules in controlling the growth and metastasis of certain lung cancers.
10. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine by the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology in Germany determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell invasion. Effects were confirmed in primary tumour cells from a lung cancer patient. Overall, data indicated that cannabinoids decrease cancer cell invasiveness.
11. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine and conducted by Harvard Medical School investigated the role of cannabinoid receptors in lung cancer cells. They determined its effectiveness and suggested that it should be used for treatment against lung cancer cells.
12. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine illustrates a decrease in prostatic cancer cells by acting through cannabinoid receptors.
13. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine outlined multiple studies proving the effectiveness of cannabis on prostate cancer.
14. Another study published by the US National Library of Medicine determined that clinical testing of CBD against prostate carcinoma is a must. That cannabinoid receptor activation induces prostate carcinoma cell apoptosis. They determined that cannabidiol significantly inhibited cell viability.
15. A study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology recently showed that cannabinoids induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in mantle cell lymphoma. The study was supported by grants from the Swedish Cancer Society, The Swedish Research Council, and the Cancer Society in Stockholm.
16. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer also determined and illustrated that cannabinoids exert antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects in various types of cancer and in mantle cell lymphoma.
17. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine and conducted by the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Virginia Commonwealth University determined that cannabinoids induce apoptosis in leukemia cells.
18. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine shows that cannabinoids are potent inhibitors of cellular respiration and are toxic to highly malignant oral tumours.
19. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine determined that THC reduces the viability of human HCC cell lines (Human hepatocellular liver carcinoma cell line) and inhibits their growth.
20. A study published in the American Journal of Cancer determined that cannabinoid receptors are expressed in human pancreatic tumour cell lines and tumour biopsies at much higher levels than in normal pancreatic tissue. Results showed that cannabinoid administration induced apoptosis. They also reduced the growth of tumour cells, and inhibited the spreading of pancreatic tumour cells.
Cannabis stands as a great example of how the human mind can be conditioned to believe something with absolute certainty, even when faced with contradicting evidence afterwards. Growing up, we are told “drugs” are bad, and while this might be true, not all substances that have been labelled as “drugs” by the varying authoritative bodies are harmful. It’s possible that substances are labelled as a “drug” in order to protect corporate interests. One example is the automobile and energy industry; a car made from hemp is stronger than steel, and can be fuelled from hemp alone. Henry Ford demonstrated this many years ago. Hemp actually has over 50,000 uses!
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