How Cannabis Fits Into Cancer Care

 Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

A new research review conducted by cancer and integrative medicine specialist Dr. Donald Abrams and published in the journal Current Oncology highlights the potential for cannabis in managing cancer-related symptoms and treating cancer. Abrams explains, “Cannabis is useful in combatting anorexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, and depression. Cannabis might be less potent than other available antiemetics, but for some patients, it is the only agent that works, and it is the only antiemetic that also increases appetite. Inhaled cannabis is more effective than placebo in ameliorating peripheral neuropathy in a number of conditions, and it could prove useful in chemotherapy-induced neuropathy.”

Some studies cited reveal cannabis can reduce or prevent neuropathic pain, and Abrams himself claims to have seen patients benefit from the analgesic properties of cannabis so that it allowed them to wean down or off of opiate medications. Cannabis is also effective in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and some research suggests it is the only nausea-suppressing substance that can also stimulate appetite. While there is not enough evidence yet to suggest cannabis can cure cancer, cannabinoids have demonstrated anticancer effects in several preclinical trials, with some showing cannabinoids inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and others revealing cannabinoids induce apoptosis, decreased tumor cell invasiveness, and reduce the viability of cancer cells. Abrams concludes, “Preclinical data suggest that cannabinoids could have direct antitumour activity, possibly most impressive in central nervous system malignancies. Clinical data about the effects of cannabis concentrates on cancer are as yet unavailable. Oncologists could find cannabis and cannabinoids to be effective tools in their care of patients living with and beyond cancer.”

You can read more about the review on Medical Marijuana Inc, or access the study directly here. This information has been approved by our Chief Medical Officer.