Cancer is a chronic illness within the body that deals with abnormal cell activity. A normal cell becomes cancerous when certain structural mutations prevent it from proceeding along its regular healthy pathway throughout the body. Typically, cells grow and divide themselves via proliferation and then once they perform their duties they eliminate themselves. There are a myriad of different stimulants and pollutants involved that may be cancer causing agents, but it is important to focus upon the ways in which we can prevent cancer. The body is a temple and everything that enters its system over time can accumulate for better or for worse. With that being said, cancer is an improbable diagnosis and does not discriminate based upon any human characteristic.
The key to a healthy life is balance and the technical term within the body for balance is homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system is present within every mammal known to man and its primary function is to maintain the regulation of all the vital systems within the body. Problems arise when self-replicated cancer cells grow into tumors and break through the boundaries of tissues. This continued proliferation into different sectors of the body is called, “metastasis.” Certainly, most people are aware of the traditional methods of treating cancer whether it be surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Many of those treatment plans are devastating to the long-term wellness of cancer patients, which begs the question: Why not give cannabis a try as a means to treating cancer?
“Prehistoric men and women were at least breathing in the smoke of hemp and wild cannabis in order for it to have created this genetic marker within our chemical makeup.” (Dianna Donnelly, CannaClarity)
Cannabis as a cancer treatment carries multiple consequential remedies. First, it serves as side effect relief for nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain, depression, anxiety and insomnia that result as a byproduct of conventional therapies. Second, it can also be considered as a means to targeted cell treatment. Most doctors recommend that cannabis be used as a synergy with conventional therapies. However, stories from patients like Corrie Yelland prove that cannabis can be utilized in lieu of conventional therapy to lead to a cancer-free life.
“I’ve said all along – if it worked, I’d spend the rest of my life telling people about it and that’s what I do.” (Corrie Yelland, Victoria, B.C. Canada)
Reason being, cannabis alters how cells reproduce. It is able to induce cell death and carries a direct antitumor effect. What makes cannabis a truly unique compound for cancer treatment is its ability to target harmful cells. Whereas, treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy completely wipe out all cells, cannabis targets the unhealthy ones and leaves the others unbothered. Cannabis has a positive impact on cancer patients because it allows medical professionals to increase specificity when it comes to addressing harmful cells. It inhibits the formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor with neuromodulatory activity that leads to cell cycle arrest. Also, it serves as a pathway obstruction which significantly reduces spreadability by blocking the transition of unhealthy cells.
“After upping my dosage to a gram a day, within a week I sat up and looked at my brother and said let’s go out for lunch.” (Joanne Crowther, Vancouver, B.C. Canada)
With all the opposition to cannabis due to its long-winded stigma, it is in and of itself an opposition to harmful cancer processes. Here are some of the ways cannabis is beneficial to cancer patients:
- Anti-proliferative (prevent rapid spread)
- Anti-angiogenic (cut tumor’s nutrients and oxygen supply)
- Anti-palliative (stimulates cell death)
- Antioxidant (slows cell damage)
In the womb, the ID-1 gene activates for a short time to assist embryonic development and then turns off and stays off. Some forms of cancer reactivate the ID-1 gene which can cause malignant cells to invade and spread. Cannabis silences all ID-1 expression by modulating potential pathways which leads to deregulation of those malignant cells, altogether.
It is important to understand which of the cannabinoid receptors are activated in different tumors because each receptor follows a different signaling mechanism. A deeper knowledge of exact signaling and subsequent cannabinoid function will lead to a greater benefit within the targeted clinical approach.
Without the access to premium cannabis, state-of-the-art facilities and the allowance of time for dedicated medical professionals, it is difficult to truly gain and spread awareness. We have reached a crucial tipping point within the USA, where nearly half of the states (24) have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Unfortunately, in states where it has been legalized recreationally, the patient is not the priority. Rather, companies address their main incentive – profit.
Additionally, the federal government only approves one manufacturing bid per year to study the properties of cannabis. The places that are accepted do not always possess quality cannabis and the plant is treated as a mass crop rather than a life-improving compound. It is akin to the tobacco process where it receives no appropriate care, thus yielding inaccurate findings. There are countries who treat this plant differently and therefore have come up with much more progressive findings. They have been able to find mechanisms to replicate cannabinoids using yeast and do so in areas with less light, resources and space necessary. Within the constantly evolving fields of technology and medicine, there will be countries who will place themselves lightyears ahead in terms of understanding cannabis. With the way the systematic structure exists now, the USA will not be one of them.
It is imperative to allow further research to comprehend the necessity for integrating cannabis into the life of a cancer patient regarding the microenvironments of their tumors. Cannabis’ Schedule 1 classification serves as a major hindrance for the application of its productive properties. With that, it is subject to numerous confounding factors and its harsh classification deters major scientific studies. There has been a great wealth of knowledge gained within the last couple decades but there is much more to discover. Every study regarding this topic always includes a note that mentions, “Additional findings are needed to entirely support this study.” Without greater findings, it is difficult to balance evidence between the harms and benefits associated with cannabis. Clearly, cannabis has significant healing properties but our country’s medical professionals are in need of greater access to research in order to fully utilize this uniquely active compound.