Last Updated on April 23, 2021 by Maxwell Harris
Cancer has now become one of the most common causes of death, but the disease itself is very complex, making it difficult to find a patent remedy for a cure. Sufferers are therefore challenged to look for alternative remedies themselves that complement conventional medical therapy. Numerous studies now give reason to hope that cannabis can play a key role in cancer therapy. Hopes rest especially on cannabis oil against cancer, on the one hand as a natural remedy to support the healing of the disease itself, on the other hand to alleviate the symptoms. Cannabis is no longer a taboo subject in this regard, as doctors in Germany have been able to prescribe cannabis-based medicines to their patients since 2017.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease used in medicine to describe a malignant tumor that has developed through abnormal cell growth. By forming daughter tumors called metastases, cancer inevitably leads to death without proper treatment. Any organ in the body can be attacked by cancer cells, and both genetic and external factors such as smoking or working with carcinogenic substances play a role in the development of the disease. The type of cancer itself depends on age and gender, but the region can also have an influence. In Germany, colorectal and lung cancer are the most common, as is breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. The treatment options vary for the different types of cancer. Depending on which organ is affected, metastases form more quickly and the probability of survival also decreases. Classic symptoms of cancer include loss of appetite and dramatic weight loss, as well as chronic pain. In addition, there is permanent nausea, change in body schema and lack of energy.
The conventional medical treatment of cancer
By taking a biopsy, the doctor can determine the type of cancer. For most cancers, this is followed by surgery, either to remove the tumor or to drain it if the lump is putting high pressure on surrounding organs. The surgery is not always major; some tumors can be removed with minimally invasive surgery. Healthy tissue is cut away around the lump, as well as lymph nodes, to make sure nothing of the cancer remains. Following the surgery, it is necessary to undergo several weeks of radiation therapy to kill any remaining cancer cells or slow their growth. Since this radiation also kills healthy cells, patients feel extremely exhausted as a result. Chemotherapy involves killing the malignant cells with drugs, and the method has been used since the 1940s. More than 100 different preparations are in use today, each with a different effect. Some incorporate fake building blocks of DNA into the cells of the tumor. Others glue the strands of DNA together or prevent the enzymes involved in building DNA from doing their job. In addition, there are drugs that interfere with cell metabolism, preventing cancer cells from being built. Some cancers can be treated with immunotherapy. Living organisms are administered to stimulate the immune system. The side effects are similar to the flu. Complementary hormone therapy is often given, drugs or injections are used to prevent or at least slow the growth of cancer cells. In combination with other therapeutic approaches, such measures try to prevent the cancer from attacking the body again. However, in addition to nausea and diarrhea, hormone therapy attacks the bones. Hyperthermia can be used locally or on the whole body in an attempt to support the work of healthy cells. These heat treatments are performed either externally or through a thin needle that is inserted and delivers heat energy directly to the tumor.
Can cannabis help fight cancer?
Some cancers, if detected at an early stage, are very curable. Others are so aggressive that therapies can only try to lessen the suffering. Cannabis plays an important role in modern cancer therapy, which is also increasingly being recognized by conventional medicine. It was already established during the first laboratory experiments in the 1950s that cannabis can be effective against tumors, although the research work has not been completed to date. However, there are more than promising laboratory experiments. For example, isolated cancer cells in a petri dish were killed by cannabis. The substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) extracted from the hemp plant was produced synthetically and was able to inhibit the growth of leukemia cells under the name dronabinol. Other types of cancer cells also responded to the influence of cannabinoids in the laboratory. A study of nine brain tumor patients was able to show that THC suppressed the growth of cancer cells. THC was injected directly into the tumor. CBD, like THC, is also able to activate certain receptors in the body, which has a direct effect on the immune system and the central nervous system. To understand the mechanism, it helps to look at the structure of a cell. In the cell, sphingoliptides have the task of coordinating development and death. They also regulate the production of a substance called ceramide, which belongs to the group of metabolites, and in very high concentrations causes cell death. If there is little ceramide in a cell, this means a healthy structure. Programmed cell death normally starts automatically when a cell is attacked by pathogens or is defective. In the case of cancer, however, this mechanism is overridden, which is why the affected cells can proliferate uncontrollably. This is where the cannabidiol receptors, which every cell in the body has, come into play.
Animal studies give hope in the use of cannabis against cancer
When CBD is administered, for example in the form of cannabis oil, ceramide production is stimulated and the mitochondria, which provide the energy supply in the cell, are attacked. Cell death occurs, triggered by CBD, which is medically referred to as apoptosis. Cannabinoids are also said to be able to prevent a tumor from connecting to newly formed blood vessels. The growth of the tumor can thus be stopped, because nutrients are needed to spread. If the supply is interrupted, this can lead to the death of the tumor in the long term. Nevertheless, it would be premature to speak of cannabis as a cure for cancer; further clinical studies are necessary for this. Animal experiments, however, give reason for hope. For example, rats and mice were injected daily with cannabis over a period of several years, with varying doses administered to the individual animals. Of the rats that were not given cannabis, less than half were alive after two years. In contrast, the survival rate of the animals that had received cannabis was over 70 percent. The rats’ lower mortality was primarily because the rats in the cannabis group were less likely to have developed cancers of the pancreas, testes, mammary glands and liver. A group of scientists from Spain investigated whether pre-existing tumors could be treated with cannabis.
A brain tumor was induced in 45 rats, which quickly leads to death and is currently still considered incurable. One-third of the rats received natural cannabis active ingredients, another third received synthetic cannabinoid, and the rest of the animals received no medication at all. The untreated rats died after only 18 days. In the rodents that received cannabinoids, which are also found in CBD oil, the tumor was completely destroyed in one-third. In most of the other rats, at least, survival time increased significantly, although some died outright. The results of the study were so promising that an attempt was made to apply this method to patients with brain tumors for whom conventional therapies had so far been unsuccessful. Despite the severity of their disease, the study participants survived for at least six months, and two of the group survived for as long as a year. Comparing these results with other therapies for this condition suggests that the combination CBD cancer has proven effective here. However, the researchers emphasize that it is still too early to make far-reaching statements at this point. However, the combination CBD cancer has undoubtedly proven effective, especially in combating symptoms that accompany cancer or its therapy.
CBD against side effects in cancer therapy
The various cancer therapies sometimes have serious side effects, ranging from dizziness, diarrhea and nausea to fatigue, insomnia and symptoms of dementia. In addition to the cancer itself, the already weakened body is challenged to cope with these side effects as well. Cannabis has proven to be a fast and effective help against the typical side effects of conventional cancer therapy. In the meantime, corresponding studies are also available. In a study investigating weight gain in cancer patients, 0.1 mg of active cannabis ingredient per kg weight was administered per day. 16 out of 34 patients recorded a quite significant increase compared to the group that had received placebo. A control study confirmed the result. 13 out of 18 participants who received 2.5 mg of active cannabis ingredients three times a day over a period of one month noticed an increased appetite and, as a result, an increase in weight. No weight gain, but no further loss of body mass, occurred in a study conducted with the cannabis product dronabibol. In the early stages of the disease, supplemental use of agents such as cannabis oil seems to stimulate appetite more than in the later stages of progression. In stage III disease, no increase has been observed to date. Nausea and vomiting are also suppressed by the administration of agents such as THC and CBD. If the mucous membrane in the mouth is damaged by chemotherapy or radiotherapy, cannabidiol can soothe the inflamed oral flora and relieve pain. Sleep disorders. Anxiety and depression are common companions of cancer. Cannabidiol increases serotonin and glutamate in the brain, which leads to elevation of mood. 30 mg per day helps combat anxiety and negative thoughts, according to a study of 50 participants.
Cannabis oil complements cancer therapy
Cannabis products are not sufficient to fight cancer on their own. However, many case studies in practice have shown that the disease disappeared faster and side effects were experienced less drastically when cannabis was used. The case of Canadian Rick Simpson has become famous. He mixed together an oil that consisted of pure THC. In the film “Run from the cure” the healing effects of this oil are documented. However, the high content of psychoactive THC makes it difficult to use in Germany. Cannabis can be obtained from pharmacies in Germany since March 2017, and an exemption is no longer required. Nevertheless, there is no way around the doctor, because he must prescribe cannabis. If the patient is seriously ill, the health insurance companies will cover the costs. A good alternative to THC-containing remedies are oils with CBD: Unlike THC, CBD or cannabidiol does not have a psychoactive effect and is therefore not affected by any laws and restrictions at all. CBD is taken as a medicine, as a dietary supplement and as a cosmetic product, usually in oil form. CBD is not a medicine , but a herbal raw material used in the promotion of nutrition, the cost is not reimbursed by health insurance in this case, even in the case of cancer treatment. Some doctors plan the intake of CBD together with the patient, other sufferers look for supplements to conventional medical therapy on their own. The oil is made from hemp varieties that have little to no THC content. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, and antispasmodic effects, making it ideal for treating side effects associated with cancer.
Dosage of CBD for cancer
Cannabis oil for cancer alone does not help, but it does induce symptom relief. In oil form, it is easy to take your daily dose of cannabidiol. The base of cannabidiol oil consists of an extremely CBD-containing paste extracted from the hemp plant. This paste is refined together with hemp or olive oil to prepare it for ingestion. The vials are usually equipped with a pipette, which makes dosing very easy. Cannabidiol can thus be drizzled directly under the tongue or administered in a mix with other medicine and even food. Recommending a dosage is difficult, because treatment with CBD is individual and depends on the person and the clinical picture. Moreover, not all CBD oil is the same, the varieties available on the market have a very different composition of CBD and THC. More CBD and less THC does not automatically have to be better than the reverse. To find out how you react to the oil, starting with a low dose is recommended. Small doses throughout the day are better than a large one. Cannabinoid has biphasic properties, which means that a high dose of CBD can be less effective than a low one. The choice of cannabinoids in the oil and their ratio to each other ultimately also depends on the clinical picture; in the case of cancer, a higher proportion of THC in the mixture makes perfect sens