Cannabis in the treatment of cancer
Cancer is a common pathology that affects different organs and systems and in which cannabis can be used as an adjunct to treatment with three objectives:
Cannabis in the treatment of cancer alleviating the side effects of chemo and radiotherapy
The benefits of cannabinoids are the improvement of nausea and vomiting, stimulation of appetite, relief of pain present in some chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, and improvement of the frequent general discomfort.
Cannabis in the treatment of cancer relieving symptoms of the disease and / or its impact in different stages
In this case, the benefits are oriented towards two objectives:
- Therapeutic supplements during illness to treat loss of appetite, pain (metastatic or not), sleep disorders, impaired quality of life, and mood.
- Palliative use, in which basically the same benefits are sought but referred to terminal stages. Here the psychoactive effect of THC is of particular importance in helping the patient. With the feeling of anguish in the terminal phases of many diseases. The feeling of well-being, relaxation, detachment from the real situation, relieves the patient and the family by not seeing their family member suffer.
Cannabis in the treatment of cancer as an antitumor agent
The third use of cannabis and cannabinoids in the treatment of cancer is related to three important measures:
- Determination of the “suicide” (apoptosis) of tumor cells without affecting healthy cells.
- Inhibition of blood vessel-forming factor reducing tumor nutrition,
- Inhibition of the cell migration factor reducing its potential for spread and metastasis.
These actions have been demonstrated in cancers of animal and human origin. There are also some anecdotal reports of the tumor shrinkage effect. But there are still not enough studies to determine the doses required to achieve efficacy. At present, it can be said that they increase the efficacy of protocolized treatments for different cancers. Such as breast, prostate, brain, and colon, among others. But the isolated efficacy of cannabinoids would be less than standard treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy).
In sum, cannabis and cannabinoids in cancer treatment can be used to treat the side effects of chemo and radiotherapy, some symptoms of cancer, palliative and antitumor treatment, and are recommended as part of a comprehensive cancer approach.