I got a good bit of reaction to my last piece on cannabis and cancer, so I want follow up on it before moving on to other subjects. Obviously, many folks out there are suffering and seeking relief, but I don’t want to peddle false hope; there is already too much of that going on. However, if you already have a death sentence hanging over your head then you pretty much have nothing to lose.
One of the major medicinal advantages of cannabis, the clinical name for marijuana, is the absence of significant and unintended side effects (no major harms) associated with its medicinal use ¾which is a lot more than can be said for many pharmaceutical drugs that come with a laundry list of side effects, which sometimes include death.
That said, the website of the National Cancer institute has recently added a page titled “Cannabis and Cannabinoids” [cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/patient/page2]. The information on that page cites preclinical studies that indicate the following “antitumor activity” of cannabinoids (the active substances in the marijuana plant):
• Studies in mice and rats have shown that cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.
• A laboratory study of delta-9-THC in hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) cells showed that it damaged or killed the cancer cells.
• A laboratory study of cannabidiol in estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells showed that it caused cancer cell death while having little effect on normal breast cells.