Does Cannabis Oil Kill Cancer Cells?
Cannabis oil, like cannabis, contains chemicals called cannabinoids. These chemicals react with the human body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate many different bodily functions including sleep, appetite, pleasure, pain, and many more. Cannabis oil is a concentrate, so it contains much higher percentages of cannabinoids than marijuana or hash. Though nothing has yet been proven, early studies show that the cannabinoids in cannabis oil may be an effective cancer treatment.
Some preclinical studies suggest that cannabinoids might be able to kill cancer cells. Studies showed that cannabinoids may be able to stop the growth of tumours in three ways:
- Cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells
- Cannabinoids may be capable of blocking the growth of tumour cells (as evidenced in this study from the National Review of Cancer)
- Cannabinoids may be able to stop the development of blood vessels that help the tumour grow.
Cannabinoids may also be able to stop tumour cells from breaking off and spreading to different parts of the body. This type of cancer is known as metastatic, and it is extremely dangerous. Cannabinoids may therefore be considered anti-metastatic.
Better yet, cannabinoids may be able to kill cancerous cells while leaving the healthy cells alone. One study found evidence that cannabinoids may even be able to protect healthy cells. This is certainly promising information.
Specific cancers studied include liver cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer. One study even showed that one of the cannabinoids in cannabis, CBD, may increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy when both are administered together. This study found that CBD decreased the invasiveness of lung cancer cells. Another study found that CBD can reduce the size of tumours in mice with breast cancer. The researchers are hopeful that their findings could lead to a new, non-toxic treatment for breast cancer.
However, this information is far from conclusive. The studies performed so far are preclinical, according the United States National Cancer Institute.
“Preclinical” means that the tests are not yet being done on humans. The tests may be done in a laboratory in controlled conditions, or on animals. Most of the cannabis studies in question were performed on rats or mice.
Once researchers and medical authorities are confident that the treatment is safe and effective, they will hopefully move along to clinical trials. Only then will we truly know whether cannabinoids will kill cancer cells in humans. In the meantime, many cancer patients choose to self-medicate with cannabis. The drug is also known to lessen the side effects of chemotherapy, including nausea and pain. Many people have reported success with combating cancer with marijuana, although this certainly doesn’t prove that it is an effective medical treatment. Always consult a medical practitioner before beginning a course of treatment involving cannabis or any other drug.
Unfortunately, the fact that marijuana use is illegal in many countries has severely hampered research into its medical uses. Hopefully, in the wake of upcoming legalization, more researchers will have the freedom to conduct human trials.Back To FAQ