Cannabis Kills All Types of Cancer Cells That Science Has Tested so Far
Standard cancer treatment must be adapted to the type and location of a tumor, whereas cannabis is an equal opportunity killer, destroying all types of cancer cells.
Curing cancer is the holy grail of medical research and it’s the most-coveted breakthrough of our time. If we could discover a way to prevent malignant cells from overrunning the human body, not only would we save millions of lives, we would end years of suffering. And, we could finally feel superior to sharks which, rumour has it, are cancer free (it turns out, they actually can be afflicted). Is cannabis the way? Studies, so far, show that cannabis kills all types of cancer cells.
One Treatment Doesn’t Fit All
While chemotherapy and radiation have certainly helped humanity’s battle against cancer, research into the recently discovered (1990s) endocannabinoid system keeps providing new information about how tumors form, spread and turn deadly.
But cancer isn’t just one thing. It’s an umbrella term for a collection of related illnesses. What unites these is the method of mayhem: cancer divides and spreads like ants at a picnic. And since it’s not just one kind of ant, we’ve developed slightly different ways to deal with each species.
Partially, that’s because when cancer infects the brain, we can’t necessarily handle it the way we would handle cancer in the foot. Even if the same treatments would be effective at stopping the cancer, the collateral damage to brain cells is just too risky.
But when cannabis treats cancer, it doesn’t cause the kind of negative side effects that chemotherapy, for instance, does. Although human trials and solid scientific research are still a ways off, early studies indicated that cannabis might be the one truly universal way to kill cancer cells.
Cannabis Stops Blood Vessel Formation for all Types of Tumors
One of the key ways that cannabis combats cancer is through anti-angiogenic effects. That sounds like a mouthful, but the concept is straightforward. Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels form from old ones — like a potato sprouting. New blood vessels are how wounds heal, people grow, and new and better pathways form for circulation. It’s a vital and healthy part of the body’s daily regimen. But it’s also how tumors transition from benign growths to malignant cancers.
Cancer creates cells that don’t have the ability to divide in a controlled fashion, leading to out-of-control growth. But what fuels that growth? For tumors to get larger and spread, they need a supply of essential nutrients and oxygen, which they get from the bloodstream. So when a cancer begins to grow, it has to do so at the same rate as the blood vessels which nourish it. Without new vessels, the tumor couldn’t expand. Thus one of the best ways to combat cancer growth is by limiting the ability of the body to generate new blood vessels. That’s anti-angiogenesis.
And cannabis happens to be particularly effective at that. The body’s endocannabinoid system partially regulates new blood vessel growth, so when cannabinoids enter the body and react with that system, it interferes with cancer’s ability to force new blood vessel growth. By taking up room in the protein receptors, cannabinoids prevent cancer from commandeering and directing the body’s new growth functionality — at least to a point. In this study, tumor growth was significantly slowed, although not completely stopped. And, amazingly, this happens to work against cancer cells, but not against normal new blood vessel growth.
Cannabis Stops Metastasis for All Tumor Types
As tumors grow, some cancer cells acquire the ability to escape the primary mass and proceed to invade surrounding tissues or migrate to distant sites, where they find new colonies. This is metastasis. It’s what responsible for most human deaths from cancer. These rogue cells invade healthy tissue, grow new tumors, and limit the body’s organs form fulfilling their life-preserving duties. So the best way to prolong cancer patients’ lives are to ensure that these cells don’t escape tumor masses and found new cancer sites.
That’s where CBD comes in. Cannabinoids play a key role in cell migration, invasion and metastasis. Specifically, CBD has proven anti-proliferative effects on glioma cancer cells by inducing something called apoptosis. From the Greek for “falling off,” apoptosis is basically a cell’s self-destruct sequence. It’s how the body rids itself of bad or non-performing cells. Cancer can fool the body into thinking that tumorous cells aren’t bad and shouldn’t undergo apoptosis. However research suggests that CBD has been found to mess with cancer’s ability to do that which in turn allows the body to kill the cancerous cells.
CBD Can Lead to Tumor Shrinkage
Studies — like this one published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (2004) — have also shown that CBD aids tumor regression. One found that a seventy percent reduction of cancer in mice occurred eighteen days after treatment with CBD. Again, this was glioma (a particularly nasty type of cancer that starts in the brain and spine), but the researchers suggest that the anti-tumor activity associated with CBD could transfer to other cancers too.
The way scientific research works means there is a whack-a-mole style approach when it comes to treating cancer — one at a time. For example, cannabis has to be proven to treat lung cancer and brain cancer individually. So the only way we’ll know if cancer is the panacea against cancer that we all hope it to be, is to find that out one disease at a time.