cannabis fights cancer
cannabis fights cancer

3 New Studies Show How Cannabis is Helping Doctors in the Fight Against Cancer

More and more research is showing how cannabis is helping cancer patients with their battle!

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Wednesday Mar 27, 2024

cannabis fights cancer

What The New Studies On Cannabis and Cancer Say

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, there were around 18 million cases of cancer globally in 2020.

That’s a staggering number, considering we are living in the best times for modern medicine. Yet, cancer remains so elusive and difficult to treat. So why haven’t we cured cancer yet?


Well, cancer isn’t just one kind of disease: it’s a term that encompasses over 200 different types of cancer diseases that afflict various parts of the human body. Further, each cancer type has several different subtypes, all of which behave differently on a molecular as well as genetic level. Genetic mutations are behind these different types of cancers, and the more the cancer or tumor grows, the more mutations it will undergo.


Since cancer cells mutate more over time, this affects the way they behave. And this is the nature of cancer, but this very nature of it is what makes treatment so difficult. Mutations can eventually become treatment-resistant, so patients will need new treatments over time. And the cycle goes on.


But alongside pharmaceutical medications, chemotherapy, radiation, and other modern forms of medical treatments to fight cancer, we have cannabis to thanks. A growing number of cancer patients are seeing the benefits of integrating cannabis into their healing journey. And unlike conventional medications, there are rarely any side effects to using marijuana for cancer.

Here’s what the latest studies say when it comes to cannabis and cancer.

Cannabis Is Promising for Reducing Melanoma Cell Growth


Last October 2023, MGC Pharmaceuticals in Australia conducted early trials together with researchers at Charles Darwin University as well as RMIT on a potentially revolutionary cannabis extract called PHEC-66.


They tested the impact of PHEC-66 on melanoma skin cells, which is the most fatal type of skin cancer. In RMIT, Dr. Ava Bachari led the project as part of PhD studies. In the trials, they found that the cannabis extract successfully binds to receptor sites found on certain melanoma cancer cells, after which it reduces the cancer cell growth in 2 important phases.

“The damage to the melanoma cell prevents it from dividing into new cells, and instead begins a programmed cell death, also known as apoptosis,” explains Dr. Nazim Nassar, a Charles Darwin University pharmaceutical lecturer, and also a co-author of the study. “This is a growing area of important research because we need to understand cannabis extracts as much as possible, especially their potential to function as anticancer agents,” he added.


“If we know how they react to cancer cells, particularly in the cause of cell death, we can refine treatment techniques to be more specific, responsive and effective,” Dr. Nassar adds.


“Advanced cancer delivery systems still need to be fully developed, underscoring the importance of ongoing efforts to ensure the proper and effective use of these agents at target sites,” said Dr. Nassar.

New Study Reveals That Majority Of Cancer Patients Who Use Marijuana Report Significant Symptomatic Improvement


A recent study covering the results of 1,886 survivors of cancer revealed that almost half of them either used cannabis previously, or still use it to help with their diagnosis. The findings, which were published in December 2023 in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship said that consumption of marijuana among cancer survivors is more prevalent because of its efficacy for managing symptoms.


Patients primarily found marijuana effective for treating pain as well as sleep disturbances. Other symptoms they were using marijuana for include nausea, appetite, depression, and to help them cope with the illness. Additionally, there was a fraction of them that were using cannabis to treat cancer. There were varying responses in terms of how effective marijuana was at treating various cancer symptoms, though most cannabis survivors see benefits in its usage.


“With most survivors reporting benefits from cannabis use in cancer management, there is a need for more studies to strengthen current evidence on cannabis therapeutics,” says the study. “Also, there is a need for policies, clear guidelines, and cannabis-based educational programs for healthcare providers and survivors on the use, benefits, and risks of cannabis in cancer management,” it adds.


A New Discovery In Cancer-Cannabis Research: Marijuana Helps Cancer Patients Think More Clearly


In 2023, Angela Bryan, PhD, a researcher from the University of Colorado Cancer Center, discovered breakthrough findings in the cancer-cannabis field. While involved in a study, she found that cancer patients reported better cognition, among other benefits of cannabis on the daily life of cancer patients.


It’s interesting to note that Bryan was herself diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2017. She also relied on cannabis to help keep pain levels down during her treatment. That said, Bryan has invested much of her time and effort in research to analyzing the impact of legalized marijuana in Colorado.

For this study, Bryan and her team studied 25 cancer patients over the course of 2 weeks. They measured everything including sleep health, cognition, and pain levels. Afterwards, they were asked to visit a dispensary to purchase any cannabis products they wanted, which they believed would treat their symptoms. When the study participants already had these products, which ranged from pills to oils and gummies, Bryan and her team of researchers did another measurement of cognitive and physical levels. These tests were done right after they consumed the cannabis products as well as after 2 weeks of continued use.


What they found was surprising: cannabis is indeed helpful in improving cognition and thinking skills among cancer patients. “There’s a lot of concern about compromised cognition in patients undergoing treatment for cancer,” explained Bryan. “Even after treatment is over, patients describe things like brain fog and slowing of their cognition. There was a concern that if they use cannabis to treat these other concerns, it could compromise their cognition. But the opposite turned out to be the case.”



It has become clear with these studies that the list of cannabis’ benefits for cancer patients only continues to grow. While finding a cure may feel far off, the good news is that more patients than ever have access to marijuana to help them recover.



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