Cannabis has been in the media a lot over recent months and years. Trusted medical research continues to highlight the potential benefits of the plant in the treatment of chronic pain and other chronic diseases. Causing a shift in attitudes and resulting in certain states and countries even loosening their restrictions on cannabis use. You can now buy edibles online and CBD is becoming quite commonplace even in countries where cannabis itself is still illegal. But the question on everyone’s lips is can cannabis help provide a cure for cancer?
What is cannabis?
To be able to understand how cannabis may affect the growth and spread of cancer we first need to know what it is. Cannabis is a plant used by people for thousands of years for both recreational and medicinal purposes. You may have come across it as hemp, weed, pot, marijuana or hash. The plant produces a resin which contains substances known as cannabinoids. The two main cannabinoids that have been identified are:
- CBD – cannabidiol, which produces no high effect and as such is legal in places where cannabis itself is not.
- THC – delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabinoid that produces the high effect associated with the drug.
CBD is already being used by many people to help them manage symptoms of anxiety, chronic pain and even the frequency of epileptic fits. It can be purchased as an oil which is then infused into creams, balms, vapes and edibles.
THC, due to the high effects it produces, is still illegal to obtain in many places. People who do choose to use it often purchase it in its whole form as the bud of the cannabis plant.
Can it cure cancer?
Both of the cannabinoids CBD and THC are being studied to see if they can have a role in the treatment of cancer. Scientists have found some promising results. CBD and THC have caused cancer cells to die, stop cancer cells from dividing and stop cancer cells from developing new blood vessels. This is all good news, however, these results have primarily been studied in a laboratory. There have also been situations where cannabis has had less than optimal effects. In some studies, cannabinoids were found to damage other important blood vessels and even encourage cancer to grow. Meaning that the research is still inconclusive.
The answer to whether cannabis can help to cure cancer is currently still elusive. However, cannabis has been found to help alleviate many of the symptoms of cancer, such as nausea and pain. Some drugs have been developed from cannabis to help those suffering from the heavy sickness caused by chemotherapy and to help promote a sense of appetite.
Cannabis may not be the wonder cure for cancer that people have hoped for. But there’s no doubt that the cannabinoids found within the plant may have the potential to make a difference to many peoples lives. Clinicians are continuing to study the drug to help uncover its other hidden benefits.
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