Medical marijuana is already commonly prescribed to cancer patients as part of a pain-reduction plan when dealing with the disease symptoms, as well as the harsh side-effects of chemotherapy treatments. Cannabis has been found to be effective in relieving chronic pain, nausea and loss of appetite.
However, the drug might have completely new uses in the fight against cancer. Scientists from Israel’s Technion University have found that cannabis might be a weapon against the development of the disease itself. The study, the first of its kind, is part of a new trend of exploring cannabis’ possible role, thanks to new, more tolerant, popular views on the drug.
Preliminary results of the research, lead by Dr. David Meiri, show that cannabis is very possibly effective in combating and even preventing cancerous growths in the brain and breast.
One of the key strategies for inhibiting cancerous cells is to break down their outer layers. Cannabis seems to be able to do exactly that, shutting down a cancer cell’s ability to reproduce. These preliminary results give researchers cause for hope and further exploration.
Such research is relatively young and many questions are yet to be answered: what type of ingestion would make cannabis most effective? Which strains of the plant would be most beneficial? The potential for further research is infinite, and exciting.
The research is part of a collaboration between the Technion and Cannabics Pharmaceuticals, an American company involved in the commercialization of marijuana-related medicines, supplements and therapies. The firm is also involved in a different study being conducted elsewhere in Israel, testing the effectiveness of cannabis pills as part of a weight loss program.
“There is a large body of scientific data which indicates that cannabinoids specifically inhibit cancer cell growth and promote cancer cell death,” said Dr. Meiri. “Cannabinoid based anticancer medicine could be a potent therapy without the side effects related to chemotherapy,” said Dr. Eyal Ballan, the chief scientist of Cannabics. “Everyone is waiting and hoping for significant results from the research,” he said.