In some cases, it may be difficult to believe that cannabis can kill cancer cells. A lot of recent research has found out cannabinoids, the main active compounds in cannabis can prevent cancer from growing, spreading, and even make tumour cells to die. But, how come this is possible? I will explain in this blog post.
Cannabis Kills Cancer 1
The major problem with cancer cells in the body they don’t stop growing. Once a malignant tumour starts to grow, cancer cells start to divide and conquer. New cancer cells are continuously being made. The cells spread rapidly to other tissues in the body. The process of spreading and growing is known as proliferation.
This how cannabis can help: the active components in the herb are anti-proliferative. The 2014 review published in Oncotarget found that cannabinoids inhibited cells proliferation in lung cancer, breast, and prostate. The anti-proliferative effects are thought to be applied for other cancers and medical conditions as well.
In 2013, Italian scientists found that the non-psychoactive CBD protected against cancer cell “migration, adhesion, and invasion”.
Earlier in 2010, researchers found that cannabis had an anti-proliferative effect in deep infiltrating endometriosis, where painful lesions appear on various female reproductive organs. Endometriosis increases your risk of developing cancer.
Cannabis Kills Cancer 2
When cancer cells move(migrate) from one part of the body to another, the cells become metastatic. Cancer cells break away from an original tumour then travel through the blood or lymph system, and make a home in another part of the body. This is the reason why in some cases people with breast cancer later develop cancer of the liver, bone, brain or lungs.
Recent research discovered that cannabinoids are responsible for blocking metastasis. In the past two decades, Spanish scientists at the Complutense University in Madrid have been studying the impact of cannabinoids and cancer cells.
In 2012, they found out that compounds in the plant(herb) had anti-metastatic effects in tumour cells. In a review, lead author Guillermo Velasco cited over 12 studies showing cannabinoid protection against metastatic cancers.
Cannabis Kills Cancer 3
In the body to have tumours to survive, they hugely need blood. Unfortunately, they normally take the blood they need through a process called angiogenesis. Angiogenesis enables tumours to grow blood vessels. This makes them grow larger and larger over time to a point they exceed normal bodily function.
Researchers over the years have been trying to develop drugs which slow or stop tumours from creating blood cells. The best part is that cannabinoids seem to do just that.
In 2008, Spanish researchers led by Cristina Blázquez discovered that psychoactive THC weakens a tumour’s ability to develop new blood vessels. The team also looked at brain cancer cells called gliomas specifically, they mention that the same effects have been found in melanomas and skin carcinomas as well.
Additional research conducted in 2011 from Vanderbilt University cited evidence that non-psychoactive CBD is also anti-angiogenic, though it works differently from THC. This is good news, it shows that the active compounds in cannabis fight tumour cells in different ways.
Cannabis Kills Cancer 4
Already, cannabinoids stop tumour cells from spreading, slow down growth, and cut off their blood supply. But, can cannabis actually kill cancer cells? Research suggests that it can.
A recent study published in Current Oncology found that both THC and CBD were effective in killing neuroblastoma cells. Neuroblastomas are the most common tumours among children. With this particular type of cancer, CBD was more effective.
But, how? Simply said, CBD caused the brain tumour cells to commit suicide. The technical name for cell suicide is apoptosis. Apoptosis is a natural mechanism that the body uses to clear out cells that are damaged and ineffective.
This phenomenon is known as “programmed cell death” and it helps maintain the health of your cells. For some reason, cancer cells no longer die. They evade apoptosis. Research as early as 1998 has found that cannabinoids like THC trigger apoptosis in tumour cells, meaning they actually die.
All of the above research has profound implications on the future of cancer treatment. Currently, chemotherapy and radiation are the go-to methods for cancer management, but the treatments are taxing and have long-term side effects.
Cannabis and cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals are already used to manage pain and nausea associated with chemotherapy. In the future, we may see cannabis medicines incorporated into intensive treatment plans.
Article originally appeared here. With thanks to Herb.
Disclaimer: the principles contained here is not designed nor meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is only achieved for educational confidences only. You should take full responsibility for the way you decide on to use this information.