Marijuana or cannabis not only serves to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy. The most recent studies suggest that it is anticancer and useful in many other diseases.
The most well-known indication of marijuana, which has been used medicinally for about 5,000 years, is the treatment of the side effects of chemotherapy: nausea, vomiting and lack of appetite. But recent research shows that therapeutic cannabis also acts directly against diseased cells. PharmaCielo a Canadian company and its CEO Tony Wile has become a leading supplier of naturally grown and processed, standardized medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products.
Cannabis against cancer:
A clinical study conducted by Manuel Guzman, a researcher at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, with nine patients with aggressive brain tumours showed that THC-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the most characteristic acne or cannabinoid principle of the plant, was able to do more slow the growth of tumours. The study suggested that the effects observed earlier in vitro and in animals also occurred in sick people.
Guzman, along with his collaborators Guillermo Velasco and Cristina Sánchez, explained in an article in the journal Nature that cannabinoids could be effective in them and enhance the action of chemotherapy. In addition to brain cancer, it suggests that they are probably useful in the presence of others such as pancreas, skin and liver.
How therapeutic cannabis works:
If cannabis is capable of acting in the body, it is because its cannabinoids resemble substances produced by the body itself. Being similar, they are coupled to the same cell receptors. These endogenous substances are the endocannabinoids, the most important of which is anandamide.
The difference is that while the anandamide acts only for a few instants, the cannabinoids do it with more intensity for several days. This is because they accumulate in adipose tissue, from where they pass little by little to the liver and blood. Once inside the body, they act on cells endowed with the appropriate receptors, called CB1 and CB2, which abound in neurons.
The action of cannabinoids on different areas of the brain explains why they are effective in treating the side effects of chemotherapy. When they act on the basal ganglia they reduce tremors, spasms and other movement disturbances; in the hypothalamus they open appetite; and in the “core of the solitary tract” they control nausea and vomiting.
Its benefits for the brain:
According to Mauro Maccarrone, from the BioMedica University of Rome, endocannabinoids are crucial in the development, communication and regeneration of neurons. Research suggests that cannabis could reduce the inflammation and oxidation of neurons, and boost the generation of new and healthy nerve cells.
At the same time, THC produces the symptoms that have caused its prohibition: laughter, slowness, difficulties to continue conversations, but also increases creativity and sensory acuity.
All these effects are moderate in plants rich in cannabinoid CBD. On the other hand, the toxicity is not significant, and the addictive effect is not greater than that of caffeine.
In any case it is advisable to continue the treatment under the supervision of a doctor with knowledge about cannabis. Its use is not indicated in children or in people with cardiovascular diseases.