Cannabis and Cancer



Cannabis plants produce cannabinoids. The cannabinoids are: Delta-9-THC which is the primary psychoactive (high) ingredient, cannabinol, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabivarin, and delta-8-THC. CBD, in particular, is thought to have significant pain relief and anti-inflammatory activity without the psychoactive effect (high) of delta-9-THC.

Studies performed from 2001 to 2004 suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect the normal cells and may even protect them from cell death.

Studies performed in 2010 and 2011 found that cannabis caused cell death in breast cancer cells. CBD inhibited the survival of the cancer cells while keeping normal mammary cells healthy.

In 2012 studies of CBD has also demonstrated a preventive effect against chemotherapy in a study of colon cancer. Those treated with cannabinoids were protected from developing premalignant and malignant lesions. They even found that CBD protected DNA from oxidative damage. Another investigation into the antitumor effects of CBD found that it lead to decreased cancer cell invasiveness.

CBD may also enhance uptake of drugs into malignant cells. Receptors can become resistant to the uptake of cytotoxic drugs. CBS increased this uptake of the drugs, leading to cell death in glioma cells. Also, CBD together with THC may enhance the antitumor activity of classic chemotherapeutic drugs such as temozolomide.

Appetite Stimulation

Many studies have previously demonstrated that delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids have a stimulatory effect on appetite and increase food intake. It is believed that the cannabinoid system may serve as a regulator of feeding behavior. In 2006, a study found that the cannabinoid anandamide potently enhances appetite. Moreover, CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus may be involved in the motivational or reward aspects of eating.

Pain Relief

Studies in 1998 and 1999 found that CB1 receptors found in both the central nervous system (CNS) and in peripheral nerve terminals received the cannabinoids and decreased pain without the loss of consciousness.

Studies from 1995 through 2015 found that Cannabinoids may also contribute to pain relief through an anti-inflammatory mechanism, comparable with morphine used for tumor pain.

In summary, Cannabis Cannabinoids are helpful to modern medicine with the absorption of drugs as well as the affects of Cannabinoids on the cells, stimulated appetite, and pain suppression.

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