Health & Medical

Why Cannabis is Commonly Used to Treat Cancer

Cancer is a broad term to describe diseases that are the result of cellular changes (mutations) that cause uncontrolled growth and division of cells. Inside the nucleus of every cell are chromosomes made up of thousands of genes that contain long strings of DNA. DNA is a “coded message” telling the cell how to behave. The cells in our body have specific functions and even lifespans. Cell death is a natural and beneficial phenomenon called apoptosis, and this is the process of a cell receiving instructions to die so the body can replace it with a newer cell that functions better. Cancerous cells lack the mechanisms that instruct them to stop dividing and to die. Cancerous cells can go on to form tumors, impair the immune system and cause other changes that prevent the body from functioning regularly.

Cancers are usually named for the organs or tissues where they originate. For example, lung cancer starts in cells of the lung and brain cancer starts in cells of the brain. Cancers may also be referred to by the type of cell where they originate such as an epithelial cell or a squamous cell.

One defining feature of cancer is when abnormal cells grow beyond their usual boundaries and begin to invade adjoining organs. This is called metastasizing and it is a major cause of death from cancer.

Cancer causes uncontrolled cellular growth. As cancer cells spread or metastasize, they invade and contaminate adjoining areas or organs and become more challenging to treat successfully. As metastatic cancer gains strength, the ability of the body to recover diminishes. The death rates from cancer reflect the negative power of this dreaded syndrome and the need for more effective antidotes.

There is no area of general cannabis research, or studies specific to cannabinoids, that has generated more interest in the scientific community than cancer. While it is far beyond the scope of this article to inform you on the specifics of the incredible cancer related findings that this research has demonstrated, it can be safely stated that many different cannabinoids have been found to slow or stop abnormal cell growth in various cancer states in various important ways.

The studies of non-tumor related cancers have gained a large portion of researchers’ attention. The findings are beginning to paint a picture of the importance of cannabinoids in inhibiting tumor progression at various stages. Studies have shown that by forcing cancer cells back into a normal, programmed death to allow room for fresh cells to step in, cannabinoids have checked uncontrolled, metastatic growth. Remarkably, at least one of those actions has been demonstrated in almost all cancer cell types tested.

In vivo experiments have shown that cannabinoids impair the creation of new blood vessels that feed developing tumors and block invasion and metastasis. Further, there have been many studies that have shown results with the helping to mitigate the resulting symptoms of cancer whether they exist as a result of the disease itself or from various aggressive treatments for the disease, i.e. chemotherapy and radiation.

While it is completely in error to say that cannabinoids such as CBD offer humanity a fail-safe method to avoid or cure cancer, it is accurate to say that the most active research being done both in the past and in the present confirm the positive effects that cannabinoids may have on various types of cancer. Studies suggest that cannabinoids are proving valuable as part of a comprehensive treatment program for many of the most common forms of cancer striking today.

To learn more about the past research and current studies with cannabinoids and a specific type of cancer, it is recommended that you check the following sources:

The National Institute of Heath (Studies & Research) www.nih.gov *Search using Keywords like “cannabinoids”, “cannabis”, “cancer”, etc...  For example – “Cannabinoids and breast cancer” will return many of the specific peer reviewed studies on the research into cannabinoids and breast cancer.

The National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov

For a list of cancers from A to Z: https://www.cancer.gov/types

Locations in the body: https://www.cancer.gov/types/by-body-location

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