Cannabis has been making a lot of noise lately. Multiple states across the United States, along with many countries around the world, have successfully legalized medical marijuana, and the Uruguay 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 effective for a wide range of ailments, this article will focus mainly on its effectiveness in the treatment of cancer. Cannabinoids may very well be one of the best disease and cancer fighting treatments out there. Cannabinoids refer to any of a group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis. They activate cannabinoid receptors in the body. The body itself produces compounds called endocannabinoids and they play a role in many processes within the body that help to create a healthy environment. Cannabinoids also play a role 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 the 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 have a great impact on the rebuilding of the immune system. 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.
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 antitumoral 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 Neuroscienceexamined the biochemical events in both acute neuronal damage and in 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 provide evidence that the cannabinoid system can serve to protect the brain against neurodegeneration.
3. A study published in The Journal of Pharmacology And Experimental Therapeuticsalready acknowledged the fact that cannabinoids have been shown to possess antitumor properties. This study examined the effect of cannabidiol (CBD, non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound) on human glioma cell lines. The addition of cannabidiol led to a dramatic drop in the viability of glioma cells. Glioma is the word used to describe brain tumour. The study concluded that cannabidiol was able to produce a significant antitumor activity.
4. A study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeuticsoutlines 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.
7. A study published in the journal Molecular Cancershowed 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 for the management of breast cancer.
9. A study published in the journal Oncogene, by Harvard Medical Schools Experimental Medicine Department, determined that THC inhibits epithelial growth factor induced lung cancer cell migration and more. They go on to state that THC should be explored as novel therapeutic molecules in controlling the growth and metastasis of certain lung cancers.
10. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine by the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology, from the Department of General Surgery 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.
15. A study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacologyrecently 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.
20. A study published in The American Journal of Cancer determined that cannabinoid receptors are expressed in human pancreatic tumor 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 is a great example of how the human mind can be conditioned to believe something, even when faced with contradicting evidence afterwards. Growing up, we are told “drugs” are bad, which is very true, however 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!