Google Cannabis and Cancer and you’ll get 22,200,000 results in .65 of a second. Where do you start? Firstly, know this:
You don’t need to wait until you have a life threatening illness before considering medical cannabis for its healthful properties.
Part of Cannabis’ healing occurs before there are measurable signs of trouble. There are many studies to support that it plays a role in stopping tumours from forming. If it had a superhero cape it would have an ‘A’ on it: Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-proliferative, Antiemetic, Antibacterial, Anti-fungal, etc… Through measured micro-dosing (see Micro-Dosing with Cannabis) it is a powerful preventative, maintenance and treatment measure.
Given that cannabis has been categorized as a Schedule 1 (U.S.) and Schedule 2 (Canada) drug in North America (for reasons no one can scientifically explain), the number of double blind studies around the plant are extremely limited. That doesn’t diminish its value. Someone once said if they could build a marketing campaign around the natural healing properties of water, for instance, and its ability to optimize body systems, people would be paying top dollar for the elixir. Fortunately in most cases it’s free and un-patentable. Unlike a patentable pill, no one stands to make billions from the wonder liquid (yet), and similarly, I suspect the same is true for cannabis. If the plant’s full effects could be patented, its healthful qualities would be touted endlessly. Instead, it’s been vilified. Thankfully, things are changing and soon the evidence will be indisputable. Universities and private interest groups will be funding the research. Research that will prove that medical cannabis (re)balances our bodies through its interaction with our endocannabinoid system.
Through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it helps put our bodies back in homeostasis.
In terms of cannabis’ scientifically proven ability to help, we know that it is an important part of counteracting the side effects from conventional cancer treatments such as nausea and vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, pain and depression that seriously compromise the patient’s quality of life. Many double blind studies with cannabis have been done around mitigating the side effects of chemo. Typically, when tested against placebo and the leading pharmaceutical antiemetics (anti-nausea and vomiting), cannabis was the preferred treatment up to 80% of the time. The test subjects preferred THC micro-dosing of 10 mg every 3-4 hours (3-5 sessions a day), with the inhalation route more reliable than the oral route in achieving therapeutic blood concentrations.
Its impossible to say at this point how effective cannabis is as an anti-proliferative (inhibiting cancerous cell growth and multiplication) in human studies, as it would be unethical to conduct these studies with a Schedule 1 or 2 category drug. However, in animal and test tube studies, the anti-proliferative properties are clear. As early as 1974, the National Cancer Institute in the States showed that CBD could suppress lung cancer cells in test tubes and mice. Many oncologists believe that, using CBD, it is possible for cancer cells to be killed off before they develop into full-blown tumours.
Many oncologists support that trying cannabis, along with their regular conventional cancer treatments, will not cause harm or make cancer worse. Though patients should be aware of the following possible side effects of cannabis: temporary mood changes (such as mild euphoria), heightened awareness, mild distortions of time, sleepiness or increased energy (depending on strain), increased appetite, dry mouth and eyes, anxiety, disorientation, paranoia, depression, and increased sociability. Its important to note that micro-dosing, making sure the cannabis is medically grown, and proper strain choice will help in keeping unwanted effects minimal.
As in anything health-wise, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Cannabis prescriptions for your ounce of prevention are available by making an appointment through our website www.naturalhealthservices.ca. Speak with our doctors to determine if Cannabis is right for you.
For further insight into all things Cannabis, don’t forget to tune in to The Cannabis Show, and make sure to subscribe as there is a new episode every Wednesday.