In any given year, an estimated 1.73 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. Some 600,000 Americans, for most of whom the cancer diagnosis was already known, will die from the disease.
Cancer is the second-leading killer of Americans, accounting for 22.7 percent of deaths, trailing only heart disease, and according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it doesn’t trail by much. (Heart disease claims 24.1 percent of total deaths).
Cancer can be invited into the body by alcohol or tobacco or the ingestion of cancer-causing substances (asbestos, etc.). It can be triggered by lifestyle factors, including prolonged exposure to the sun or by diet. It can be a product of age or heredity. Once it’s in the body, it’s a monster. It can kill cells. It can stop cells from dividing. It can transfer blood vessels into tumors. It can stop cells from moving about the body in a natural pattern.
There are about 37.2 trillion cells in a human body. Cancer can begin when just one of those cells begins to grow and/or multiply too much. Many of those growths are benign. Others are malignant that invade the surrounding body tissues. We call those malignant tumors cancer.
Small wonder that medical science has beat the bushes for anything that could blunt the worst that cancer can do.
And it turns out cannabis has a major role to play in this drama.
Cannabis And Cancer
Some of the things cannabis and its derivatives can do:
- Treating nausea: A number of studies have shown that inhaled cannabis (smoked or vaporized) can be helpful in treating the nausea and vomiting that frequently result from cancer chemotherapy.
- Fighting neuropathic pain: Some studies have found that inhaled cannabis can be helpful in the treatment of neuropathic pain caused when nerves are damaged by cancer.
- Enhancing appetite: Hunger is a problem for cancer victims, many of whom have little or no appetite while battling cancer. Cannabis has been shown in studies to help improve appetite and thereby food intake.
- Decreasing need for pharmaceutical painkillers: Studies have shown that cancer patients who took extracts of marijuana in clinical trials tend to need less pain medicine.
- Slowing cancer growth: And this may be the greatest of the results of combatting cancer with cannabis – scientists have reported that THC, CBD and other cannabinoids slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer, cannabinoids may slow grown and reduce the spread of some forms of cancer cells growing in lab dishes. Some studies involving animals also suggest
CBD Cancer Benefits – THC Helps Also
While there are no shortages of apocryphal stories about the benefits of cannabis for some cancer patients, science is getting into the business of examining the evidence. Reports suggest that scientists exploring the benefits of marijuana vis-à-vis cancer are getting the best results in the lab or in animal model while using a combination of purified THC and CBD. But researchers have had some success and some positive results using synthetic cannabinoids such as a molecule called JWH-133. This molecule was linked with anti-cancer properties in a 2010 study out of Madrid, and it is not a scheduled substance in the U.S. except for Alabama.
That being said, almost no cannabis or cannabinoids have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a cancer treatment in the United States.
Cannabis UK Laws – More Progressive
In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, the laws are less restrictive when it comes to cannabis derivatives. Cannabis oil is available legally in a low-concentrate version. The products are allowed to contain no more than 0.05 percent THC, the psychoactive component that makes users feel “high.”
There are increasing calls in the UK for the legalization for a form of cannabis oil containing a higher-concentration THC.
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