States in the US might be one step closer to legalizing the casual use of marijuana, specifically now that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has updated its website FAQs to include studies proving cannabis as a natural remedy for cancer.
NCI have included the following findings:
- Cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.
- Cannabinoids may protect against inflammation of the colon and may have potential in reducing the risk of colon cancer, and possibly in its treatment.
- A laboratory study of delta -9-THC in hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) cells showed it damaged or killed the cancer cells. The same study of delta-9-THC in models of liver cancer showed that it had anti-tumor effects. Delta-9-THC has been shown to cause these effects by acting on molecules that may also be found in non-small cell lung cancer cells and breast cancer cells.
- A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells showed that it caused cancer cell death while having little effect on normal breast cells. Studies of metastatic breast cancer showed that cannabinoids may lessen the growth, number, and spread of tumors.
- A laboratory study of cannabidiol in human glioma cells showed that when given along with chemotherapy, CBD may make chemotherapy more effective and increase cancer cell death without harming normal cells. Studies showed that CBD together with delta-9-THC may make chemotherapy such as temozolomide more effective.
- These studies are considered by the NCI as preclinical. They were all done using animals. According to them, no clinical trials of cannabis use for the treatment of cancer in humans have been published.
The NCI has included findings on peripheral benefits for cancer patients from marijuana:
- Delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids stimulate appetite and can increase food intake.
- Cannabinoid receptors have been studied in the brain, spinal cord, and nerve endings throughout the body to understand their roles in pain relief.
- Cannabinoids have been studied for anti-inflammatory effects that may play a role in pain relief.
The NCI is one of the National Institutes of Health.
The big news here is not these studies. These and many more are contained on PubMed, the U.S. National Library of Medicine that is also part of the National Institutes of Health. They are there for all of the world to see.