Statistics say that almost 40 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with one of the forms of cancer at some point in their lives. Furthermore, according to WHO, each sixth death in the world is caused by cancer. These numbers are terrifying and trying to combat one of the deadliest diseases in the human history, people grasp for any chance to find the cure. Some cancer survivors claim that they have found the cure in cannabis oil. But can marijuana really cure cancer?
Since cannabis is still prohibited in most countries, it is really hard for the scientists to study the full range of the plant's medicinal properties. To the date, there haven't been any randomized human clinical trials performed in order to find out if cannabis-based therapy cures cancer. Mostly, because the current laws in the developed countries often view marijuana as a harmful, dangerous substance with no medical value.
Along with the legal barriers, there are some ethical issues that prevent the scientific community from performing human trials. Today, it would be completely unethical for any doctor to ask their patients to risk their lives and switch from proven treatments to some plant extracts that might (or might not) be capable of curing cancer.
Perhaps later, with more anecdotal evidence and more preclinical research proving that marijuana can actually cure cancer and kill cancerous cells, both legal and ethical issues with performing human clinical trials on cannabis and cancer would pale into insignificance.
As for the preclinical research, the results are promising. There is a series of studies showing that certain cannabis compounds are able to kill cancer cells, stop the tumor growth, and ease the symptoms of cancer.
A 2003 study shows that cannabinoids, the active compounds in marijuana, kill cancer cells and inhibit the tumor growth. Another study, conducted in 2009, shows that cannabinoids promote apoptosis―the programmed death of cancer cells.
The major problem, however, is that the scientists do not know which cannabinoids at what strain combinations and dosages work best for certain types of cancer.
The good news is that there is enough both scientific and anecdotal evidence to say that medical cannabis shows great results when combined with traditional cancer treatments. According to a 2016 review, cannabis compounds effectively reduce such chemotherapy side effects as nausea, vomiting, and pain.
Furthermore, in 2016, Australia launched the world's very first clinical trial on whether medical marijuana helps manage chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea.
While the official science prefers not to rush things when it comes to using marijuana as a remedy for cancer, more and more patients all over the world decide to take the risk and add medical cannabis to their regular cancer treatment regime. The are hundreds of stories on the Internet about the “miraculous healing” from cancer with the help of cannabis.
Perhaps, one of the most famous is the story of Rick Simpson who claims that he treated his skin cancer with the help of cannabis oil. But Rick Simpson was not the only one such patient. Lots of people moved from their home states to the areas with legalized cannabis and started their cannabis-based treatment course.
For example, Merry Jane recently wrote about Darren Mille, an Illinois resident who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and survived contrary to the doctors' prognoses. In order to get a legal access to medical marijuana, Darren Mille moved to California, where marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use. Mr. Mille claims that he managed to cure his disease mostly thanks to the help of high-THC cannabis oil.
Earlier in March, The Daily Mail published a story of a young Deryn Blackwell who, according to his mother, managed to win the battle against a rare form of cancer only with the help of a cannabis tincture.
But even though there are a lot of stories about people successfully treating their cancer with the help of cannabis, we should not forget that the absolute majority of these cancer survivors received conventional therapies as well.
There are dozens of ways to consume marijuana but which one works best for treating cancer? The only thing we can say for sure is that smoking weed is not the best option. Since the smoke from a burning cigarette may contain carcinogens, it is not going to help the immune system fight cancer.
Therefore, patients who prefer more traditional ways of marijuana consumption may try to vape weed instead of smoking it. Plus, even though when being inhaled, cannabis affects you almost immediately, the effects fade pretty quickly.
Cannabis-infused edibles are considered to be one of the most discreet ways of marijuana consumption. Yet, this option has its drawbacks: it takes a lot of time before you start feeling any effects, and, therefore, it is quite hard to find the right dosage.
Most patients, however, prefer to use marijuana oil for treating their cancer. In contrast to other cannabis products, cannabis oil is a concentrate with a high content of cannabinoids. Thus, it has stronger effects than regular joints or infused sweets.
Anyway, you should consult your doctor before adding any form of medical cannabis to your regular therapy.