Cannabis and cancer

Cannabis and cancer: The number of people diagnosed with cancer is getting higher every year. Cancer can take place anywhere in or on the body. But it mostly affects the lungs, colon and breasts.

the use of Cannabis is also for medical purposes for alternative medicine for a number of diseases. But can cannabis really help cancer patients? We are going to examine the researches in this regard.

An overview of the research:

Finding different compounds which are in the cannabis plant have the potential to help in the treatment of cancerous tumours. Studies explaining how cannabis which is for medical purposes may prove to be effective against cancer.

Studies on cannabis and cancer:

A study wrote in the scientific journal Cancers in 2020. It analyzed the anti-cancer efficiency of the chemical compounds which are present in the cannabis plant. THC, CBD, CBG and CBN are the compounds that we can find on cannabis plants. The researchers concluded that, while cannabis would not likely succeed as a stand-alone therapy, “…many of the compounds present in cannabis could be part of a therapeutic solution for patients living with and beyond cancer.”

Findings of the study:

  • Linalool, a common terpene in cannabis, is reducing the viability of oral cancer cells.
  • Limonene, another abundant terpene in cannabis, exhibited anti-cancer effects by reducing tumour enlargement and suppressing the growth of bladder and colon cancer cells.
  • CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabinoid derived from hemp, inhibited the metastasis of lung cancer cells 
  • THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid, decreased the viability of pancreatic cancer cells
  • Dronabinol, a synthetic marijuana-based drug, aided in reducing nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy while also reducing the viability of leukemia cells

Stories of medical cannabis patients:

Singer Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and has tried several therapies to manage the associated pain. Cannabis medicine is one treatment supplement that has worked well for Newton-John, now 72. She told MedPage Today in 2019, “I really believe cannabis has made a huge difference. If I don’t take the drops, I can feel the pain, so I know it’s working.”

Cheyann Shaw was just 23 years old when she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. She explains, “I Tried Medical Cannabis During Chemo, and Here’s What Happened.” Shaw wrote, “The world often felt like too much, and my anxiety would kick in. But when I took my THC and CBD pills, both the exhaustion (thanks to sleep) and the anxiety would go away.”

Experts opinion about cannabis and cancer:

Dr Adie Rae, a neuroscientist and scientific adviser to Weedmaps, reiterated the importance of cancer patients consulting with their physicians. “Clinical studies are complicated. Although cannabis-using cancer patients typically have better outcomes (overall survival and tumours take longer to develop), cannabis has major interactions with the immune system. Most traditional cancer therapies are immuno-modulators. If a patient is on immunomodulatory medications, cannabis could interfere with their effectiveness. So, it’s very important to discuss cannabis use with the oncologist.”

Rae explains how medical cannabis could benefit cancer patients, “Not all cancers are alike, but many of them do respond to the molecules found in cannabis by one or more key mechanisms (limiting cell size, cell survival, cell proliferation, angiogenesis, metastases, etc.).”

Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep issues
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Chemo-induced problems

Rae said, “Chemotherapy often causes nausea, and cannabis is great for chemo-induced nausea and vomiting. Chemo can also cause neuropathy, which is very painful. Cannabis is good for neuropathic pain.”

Because cannabis has a bad reputation in the media, cancer patients think, what if smoking cannabis causes lungs cancer? However, Rae responded, “Tobacco smoking and co-smoking tobacco and cannabis is definitely associated with lung cancer, but cannabis smoke alone does not appear to cause lung cancer.”


Medical cannabis has shown to be a helpful supplemental treatment for managing cancer-related pain and chemotherapy-induced nausea and improving the overall quality of life for some patients. Each cancer diagnosis is unique, and patients should discuss the prospect of medical marijuana with their physicians before beginning a regimen.

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