What We Know About Cannabis and Cancer

What We Know About Cannabis and Cancer

Cancer is still one of the leading causes of death worldwide. The stressful lives we live, the unhealthy lifestyle alongside burnout, will eventually force us to pay the price.

What’s even more devastating is the fact that each year, younger people from all over the world are becoming the target of this disease, making it hard for the medical industry to find a cure for cancer.

To be able to fight against cancer, a constant monitor of the cancer statistics is required and we’re going to look into some of those.


The Gist Of Cancer Worldwide

Prevention of cancer is one of the biggest worldwide challenges, but unfortunately, not a single country is spared by this dreaded disease. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in 2018, there were 17.0 million new cancer cases and 9.5 million cancer deaths worldwide. Their estimation for the next 20 years is that the number of cancer diagnosed patients will rise to approximately 27.5 million, due to some of the most common reasons like smoking, unhealthy lifestyle and diet, lack of physical activity, etc.

One of the most common cancers worldwide are lung and breast cancer, with each one being responsible for 12.3% of the newly diagnosed cases in 2018. The third on that list is colorectal cancer, with 10.6% of the patients being diagnosed with it in 2018.

Men are mostly diagnosed with lung, prostate, or colorectal cancer and in 2018, nearly 50% of all new cases were related to either one of these diseases.

Women, on the other hand, are mostly affected by breast cancer - specifically, 25.4% of all the cases in 2018 were breast cancer-related. Colorectal and lung cancer is also present in the female population.

Some of the most common ways of treating cancer are via surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, bone marrow transplant, or immunotherapy. However, people have always been eager to find new ways to help themselves and deal with the diseases more easily. One way that’s shown to be quite popular over the years is the cannabis plant. 


The Relation Between Cancer And Cannabis

The use of cannabis for medical purposes is not something new - people have been doing it for ages since they’ve discovered the benefits the plant can offer for the human mind and body.

However, the measurable benefits of cannabis for patients diagnosed with cancer are still at a very low level. This is due to the fact that cannabis is still illegal in most countries, although that seems to be changing.

Currently, some of the countries that have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes are Canada, South Africa, Georgia, Uruguay, and 11 states in the USA. The number of countries that allow marijuana for medical use is even bigger. But, until more countries legalize the use of cannabis, the number of studies that can potentially prove the pros of cannabis for cancer will remain very low. 

According to our currently completed studies, we can conclude that cannabis improves the cancer symptoms endured by many patients. 

Cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant have proven to be effective for: 

  • Reducing the number of cancer cells;
  • Blocking the cancer cells growth; 
  • Preventing the development of blood vessels and with it, the potential spread of cancer;
  • Reducing inflammation. 

Two Noteworthy Benefits Of Cannabis 

There’s a stigma in the medical industry about the effectiveness of cannabis and in what way, one plant is able to help with multiple medical conditions. The National Academy of Medicine did a study in 2017 where around two stood out significantly. 

Vomiting And Nausea 

One negative side effect of chemotherapy is feeling nauseous with an almost constant urge to vomit. There are many drugs that regulate the urge to vomit, but there are studies that prove that THC can be as effective to regulate chemotherapy-induced vomiting as drugs. The cannabinoids present in the THC act as suppressors to the vomiting urge, thus making it easier for the patient to endure the chemotherapy.

Chronic Pain 

It’s easier for THC to show its positive effect on our bodies because we already have a natural biological system that supports this compound - our endocannabinoid system. 

In that system, we have receptors that are activated once THC is consumed and one of the biggest benefits of this connection is the pain relief they're able to provide for our bodies. This is especially important for cancer patients, as the amount of pain they go through is significantly larger than the one a healthy person can experience. 

If the researchers continue at this pace, in a few years we’ll know a lot more about the potential benefits of cannabis for patients diagnosed with cancer.

Conclusion

Living with cancer is one of the hardest things for any human being, and we as people tend to ease each other’s pain one way or another. The use of cannabis for this purpose is on the rise in the medical industry, but there’s still a lot to be researched. However, the things we know so far can help a lot of patients ease their pain and help them deal with cancer more effectively.  

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