Is Marijuana a Legitimate Cure for Cancer?

The following is a review of a number of medical studies on the effects and influence of cannabinoids as it relates to cancer, published May 19th, 2014 in the scientific journal “Oncotarget”.  From this review alone, and not taking into account the 1000’s of “anecdotal” reports of cancer being cured through the use of cannabis oil you should gain an appreciation of the legitimacy of its use for something as serious as cancer.  It’s a highly unfortunate fact that we as health care providers are just now learning about the actions and importance of what is called the “endocannabinoid” system, its relation to compounds within marijuana, and how this system is critical for the proper function of virtually every other system in the body, and perhaps most importantly, the immune system.  Had we known and understood the importance of this system, many lives would have been saved, and many more would have exited the confines of chronic illness.

The conclusion and review of the study states:

“Cannabinoids exert a direct anti-proliferative effect on tumors of different origin. They have been shown to be anti-migratory and anti-invasive and inhibit MMPs which in turn degrade the extra-cellular matrix (ECM), thus affecting metastasis of cancer to the distant organs. ”  (In other words, cannabinoids kill many forms of cancerous tumors, and prevents or inhibits metastasis) “Also, cannabinoids modulate other major processes in our body like energy metabolism, inflammation, etc. These data are derived not only from cell culture systems but also from more complex and clinically relevant animal models. Before cannabinoids could be used in clinical trials, there is need to explore more knowledge on several issues such as anti-tumorigenic and anti-metastatic mechanisms as well as which type of cancer patient populations would be more responsive for cannabinoid based therapies. Data presented in this review suggest that cannabinoids derived from different sources regulate differently signaling pathways, modulate different tumor cell types and host physiological system. It is important to understand which of the cannabinoid receptors are expressed and activated in different tumors as each receptor follows a different signaling mechanism. Furthermore, endocannabinoids- AEA and 2-AG are broken down into secondary metabolites like prostaglandin (PGE2) and epoxyeicosatetraenoic acid (EE) which enhance tumor growth and metastasis in diverse cancer types. Understanding the exact signaling by which cannabinoids function will eventually lead to targeted clinical approach. Also, the difference in cellular response to cannabinoids in different cancer types might be due to the effect of the tumor environment which involves inflammatory cells, fibroblasts, endothelial cells, macrophages, etc. Thus, there is a need for an integrative understanding of the role of cannabinoids with respect to the tumor and its microenvironment. The diversity of affecting multiple signaling pathways might pave way for developing cannabinoids that selectively obstruct a particular pathway, thus opening avenues for specific targeted treatments.

Moreover, cannabinoids are more specific to cancer cells than normal cells. The administration of single cannabinoids might produce limited relief compared to the administration of crude extract of plant containing multiple cannabinoids (SEE RICK SIMPSON OIL), terpenes and flavanoids. Thus, combination of cannabinoids with other chemotherapeutic drugs might provide a potent clinical outcome, reduce toxicity, increase specificity and overcome drug resistance complications. Additional findings in in vitro and in vivo models are needed to support studies at preclinical setting.”

Click here to read the research paper in its entirety.

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