There is a broad spectrum of research done on the cannabinoids' effect on cancer. Studies suggest that cannabinoids may offer some benefit as adjuvant treatment of cancer pain and neuropathic pain, as well as helping in getting rid of cancer cells, preventing their proliferation.

Medical Cannabis’ effects against cancer:

  • Orexigene.
  • Anti-proliferative of tumor vascularization.
  • A palliative for nausea, vomiting, pain, and anxiety.
  • Anti-cancer (promotes the apoptosis of cancer cells).

Cancer is a group of diseases in which there are an uncontrolled division and multiplication of cells in the body.

Nowadays, cannabinoids are being used as palliative medicine, thanks to their analgesic and antiemetic effect. But several studies indicate that they have other properties that may be of interest in combating cancer cells.

Therefore, there is a substantial increase in scientific studies for medical use of the Cannabis plant. However, more studies must be carried out, since at the moment there are many cases without precise data at a preclinical and clinical level that guarantee their anti-cancer characteristics reliably.

The cannabinoid CBD is the one with antitumor properties. In preclinical models, it has been possible to demonstrate antitumor activity in different types of tumors, such as brain (gliomas), skin (cutaneous melanoma and carcinoma), breast, pancreas, liver, and prostate, among others.

Cannabinoids activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the tumor cells, starting a complex intracellular signaling pathway that causes cell death.

Besides inducing the death of tumor cells, cannabinoids also inhibit the secretion of VEGF factor, needed to form blood vessels specific to cancer. Thus blocking the supply of nutrients necessary for tumor growth.

A third antitumor effect is the cannabinoids’ ability to modulate the activity of certain enzymes (metalloproteases), involved in remodeling the extracellular matrix, an important aspect for the migratory and invasive capacity of the tumor.

Cannabinoids could provide beneficial effects as a coadjuvant treatment in some types of tumors (brain gliomas, for example). Some animal studies have shown that cannabinoids can enhance both chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

In the palliative treatment of tumors, cannabinoids improve chemotherapy symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, inappetence, physical pain or insomnia.

DI Abrams, M Guzman – Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2015. Cannabis in cancer care.
Cannabidiol rather than Cannabis sativa extracts inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis in cervical cancer cells, 2016. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine BMC series – open, inclusive and trusted.
Cannabis use among patients at a comprehensive cancer center in a state with legalized medicinal and recreational use, 2017. Steven A. Pergam MD, MPH Maresa C. Woodfield BS Christine M. Lee PhD Guang?Shing Cheng MD Kelsey K. Baker MS Sara R. Marquis MPH Jesse R. Fann MD, MPH.
Prospective analysis of safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in large unselected population of patients with cáncer, 2018. Lihi Bar-Lev Schleidera, Raphael Mechoulamc, Violeta Ledermanb, Mario Hiloub, Ori Lencovskya, Oded Betzalelb, Liat Shbiroa, Victor Novacka.
Effect of cannabis use in people with chronic non-cancer pain prescribed opioids: findings from a 4-year prospective cohort study, 2018.

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