Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood cells that form within the bone marrow and lymphatic system. The most common form of leukemia occurs in the white blood cells, and when the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells it weakens the immune system. Leukemia is classified as either acute or chronic and lymphocitic or myologenous, which refers to how rapidly the cancer progresses and classifies whether it affects lymphoid cells or myeloid cells. Symptoms generally include fatigue and weakness, frequent infections, weight loss, fever or chills, easy bleeding or bruising, swollen lymph nodes, regular nosebleeds, tiny red spots on the skin, excessive sweating, and bone pain or tenderness.
The cannabinoids in cannabis may be effective treatment options for leukemia. THC has been found to induce apoptosis of leukemia cells, and CBD has been found to decrease tumor burden and increase leukemia cell death. The greater the dose of cannabis results in a greater apoptosis response, and combining cannabinoids like THC with other cytotoxic agents could enhance leukemia cell death, leading researchers to deem cannabis a potential "novel and highly selective treatment for leukemia." In addition to attacking leukemia cancer cells, cannabis can help cancer patients manage the nausea, vomiting, and pain associated with cancer treatments. It can also help stimulate appetite. Lastly, cannabis can prevent complications that may occur following a stem cell or bone marrow transplant procedure. Leukemia patients that had undergone transplants while being treated with CBD had a lower risk of developing graft-versus-host disease.
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