Does Cannabis Treat Breast Cancer?

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Many researchers, physicians, and patients are starting to recognize cannabis as an effective treatment for a variety of cancers, being able to halt or reverse the progress of the disease, treat its symptoms, and reduce the side effects associated with chemotherapy. One of the more prevalent types of cancer is breast cancer. There are three subtypes of breast cancer, and researchers believe cannabis is most effective for HER2-positive and triple-negative breast cancer tumors. Studies have revealed cancer tumors have an overabundance of cannabinoid receptors, and because cannabinoids bind with these overexpressed receptors, they may be able to either switch off the cell's division and replication capabilities, or kill the cell all together. 

Several research organizations have updated their statements on cannabis to reflect and recognize cannabis' ability to attack cancer cells. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has admitted to marijuana extracts having the ability to kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others in animals. Even the National Cancer Institute has said, "The potential benefits of medicinal cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep." Marijuana's status as a Schedule I drug has limited research regarding its efficacy to preclinical trials on cell cultures or animals. A 2012 study from the California Pacific Medical Center found CBD deactivated ID-1, the gene responsible for the spread of breast cancer cells. With the administration of CBD, breast cancer cells stopped spreading and, instead of dying, returned to normal. A similar study conducted in 2007 emphasized relatively large doses of CBD were necessary to elicit significant change in cancer cells, and so simply consuming even high-CBD marijuana would most likely be insufficient.

As barriers are knocked down regarding medical marijuana research, it will be interesting to see how these studies apply to the human species. You can find a more in depth look at cannabis for the treatment of breast cancer on Whaxy. This information has been approved by our Chief Medical Officer.