Cannabis for Cancer - What are the Latest Medical Studies Telling the World?
Updated: Sep 15
Posted by: DanaSmith Tuesday Sep 27, 2022
Cannabis for Cancer: What The Latest Studies Say Marijuana has been used for treating dozens of medical conditions for thousands of years now.
This plant has hundreds of therapeutic compounds which have been shown to be beneficial in treating conditions that have plagued modern humanity for decades now; many of these conditions, we have struggled to find a cure for. One of these is cancer.
Say what you want about marijuana, but the studies are there to prove that it can help save lives, improve prognosis, and make a great difference in the quality of life for people living with cancer.
Here’s what the latest studies on cannabis and cancer say.
Large Scale Study Of 150,000 Urological Cancer Patients Shows Cannabis Is Protective
A recent study of 151,945 individuals from the United Kingdom Biobank was conducted by a team of researchers in the UK together with others in France and China. They analyzed patient data from 2006 through 2010 to determine if there was an association between cannabis use and urological cancers.
The researchers discovered that patients with past cannabis use seemed to have protected them from the risk of developing renal cell carcinoma, which is responsible for around 90% of kidney cancers in the United States, as well as prostate cancer. The authorized utilized a Mendelian randomization and discovered a potential causal effect and lower incidence of renal cell carcinoma.
In addition, they found no correlation between cannabis use and testicular cancer.
“Previous use of cannabis was associated with a lower risk of bladder cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and prostate cancer,” concluded the authors. “The inverse association between cannabis and both renal cell carcinoma and bladder cancer was only found in females but not males,” they wrote.
Cannabis Consumers Less Likely To Have Liver Cancer
A study from June, which was published in Cureus, showed that cannabis consuming adults have lesser chances of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer, compared with adults with no history of marijuana consumption.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the third leading cause of cancer deaths around the world each year. It’s primarily linked to hepatitis virus infections which can occur due to hepatitis B or C. However, chronic alcohol consumption can also cause it.
Researchers from a group of clinics and hospitals, namely Cleveland Clinic, Georgetown University Hospital, Arizona Liver Health, and Southern Illinois University analyzed a sample of 101,231,036 patients. Their data from 2002 through 2014 was obtained through the US National Inpatient Sample Database. Around 1% of the entire total, of 996,290 cases, were isolated due to a diagnosis of marijuana abuse.
The researchers then compared this data with a control group, and discovered that the cannabis consuming group had a higher chance of alcohol abuse as well as smoking and hepatitis B and C infections. All of these are known to dramatically increase the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. What was surprising was that the cannabis consuming group had a lower risk of hepatocellular carcinoma!
They also had a lower incidence of diabetes, obesity, and gallstones.
“These studies collectively show that CB1 and CB2 have the potential to serve as therapeutic targets,’ said the authors. “In short, the CB-2 agonist activity exerted by cannabis, specifically CBD, offers an explanation to our observations by providing protection against HCC [hepatocellular carcinoma] or at least deceleration of disease progression. Furthermore, pharmaceutical development of compounds exerting the dual effect of CB1 antagonism and CB2 agonism can play a major role in the management of liver diseases,” the authors concluded.
Topical CBD Beneficial For Skin Cancer
Researchers from the University of California at Riverside together with investigators at UC Davis published a case report in the medical journal, Cureus, regarding a 64-year old woman who had a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC).
Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the more common types of skin cancer that affect the skin’s outer and middle layers. Just like other forms of skin cancer, it’s caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays or radiation, which can trigger abnormal growths in the squamous cells.
The woman was self-medicated with an ointment containing 20% CBD, which was found to be effective in getting rid of a skin cancer lesion. “A woman with multiple biopsy-confirmed cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas presented with a new red plaque on her dorsal left hand,” they wrote in the report.
“Biopsy revealed lichen simplex chronicus; however, she self-initiated treatment with topical cannabinoid oil, twice daily, and the lesion completely resolved within four weeks. Several prior biopsy-confirmed squamous cell carcinomas on her dorsal hands also completely regressed after similar treatment with topical cannabinoid oil,” they continued.
“Both malignant cancer and chronic dermatitis completely resolved within four weeks of twice-daily treatment. We attribute the clearance of her skin tumor to the cannabidiol…. Therefore, the possibility of treating non-melanoma skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma, with topical cannabinoids may warrant further investigation,” wrote the authors.
Cannabinoids May Inhibit Growth Of Colon Cancer Cells
New research suggests that cannabinoids may be beneficial in inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells. Two new studies discussed in Forbes, though restricted to cell models, yield promising results.
“Colon cancer is one of the most common tumors today, with a significant proportion of patients currently treated with integrative therapies, in combination with traditional methods, including the administration of medical cannabis,” says Professor Tami Peretz, Senior Oncologist and part of the research team. “Based on these experiments, there is room to perform animal studies and, in the future, to examine the possibility of incorporating these products in colorectal cancer patients,” the professor said.