I am sure that many of you have heard about the news where marijuana are being used for curing cancer. This new is so famous that it also reached my home country, Thailand where they discussed about potential legalization. This made me curious about the details to know whether this myth is true and i did some research on it to find out.
First off, for those who do not know, what is marijuana?
Marijuana is a cannabis plant that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the user to be “high”. While under this “high” effect, marijuana users have reported that their pain and nausea are relieved and that it reduces inflammation. Some users feel that it helps with depression but it can also causes anxiety and paranoia in others.
Marijuana has different type of strains, which have different effects. Some strains causes body “high” while other causes head “high”. There are two known means of taking marijuana; one is by mouth and other is by lungs.
According to cancer.org, when taking it by mouth, the THC is slowly absorbed and take hours before we can start to feel the “high”. However, the effect of taking by mouth would be stronger than by lungs. When taking it by lungs, the THC would be absorbed very fast and causes the marijuana to run through into our bloodstream to reaching our brain. This means that we get high much faster than by mouth but the effect also last less. Further scientific explanation can be found here, on the marijuana section.
So how can marijuana cure cancer?
From the articles i read, it seems that marijuana was not fully proved yet that it can “cure” cancer but it acts more as a reliever for cancer-related symptoms.
According to Jeremy Kossen from Leafly.com, a website specializing in marijuana, the cannabis was an effective medicine for relieving many cancer and treatment side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetites, anxiety, insomnia, pain and even depression. This means that cannabis is indeed useful for cancer therapy and treatment but it cannot be used alone in curing cancer.
In addition, Kossen also stated that many scientific studies were conducted on and find out that there are potential positive results because cannabis has been shown to stop the growth of cancers. Further details can be viewed on this link, on the “cannabis cancer research shows promise, but we need to do more” section. Moreover, in this same article, they also stated that one study conducted by Madrid’s Complutense University has found that injecting synthetic THC in rats can destroy brain tumors and also extending life.
Many of these researches has causes the National cancer institute to acknowledge that cannabis does kill cancer cells in pre-clinical studies. The issues are that it is still difficult to get permission to do clinical studies with marijuana for ethical issues because marijuana is not yet allowed for any medical purpose as it is still considered as a schedule 1 drug. Therefore, they concluded that further clinical studies needs to be done before fully acknowledging cannabis as a cure for cancer. However, it would now be safe to say that it is a cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side-effects reliever. I would then say that we cannot really decide yet whether or not to accept the null hypothesis.
By Dhaam Sakuntabhai