“Cannabis and cannabinoid pharmaceuticals can be helpful for nausea and vomiting, pain, and weight loss associated with cancer, according to research published online Dec. 10 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
“John L. Kramer, M.D., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, reviewed evidence for medical uses of marijuana and cannabinoids.
“Kramer notes that marijuana and cannabinoids are used for nausea and vomiting, pain, and for treatment of poor appetite and weight loss. Cannabinoids may also have a role as antineoplastic agents. More high-quality studies of marijuana and cannabinoid pharmaceuticals are necessary to elucidate the various strains of marijuana and their bioactive compounds. Studies should also explore how best to administer marijuana and its bioactive components; differences are noted in pharmacokinetics between oral ingestion and inhalation and there may be variations in clinical effect for different indications. For example, inhalation may be better for treatment of nausea and vomiting. However, smoked marijuana contains carcinogens, and may cause injury to lungs. Marijuana also has acute effects on neuropsychiatric test performance.”
“The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – tetrahydrocannabinol – could be used to reduce tumor growth in cancer patients, according to an international research team.”
“Previous studies have suggested that cannabinoids, of which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one, have anti-cancer properties. In 2009, researchers at Complutense University in Spain found that THC induced the death of brain cancer cells in a process known as ‘autophagy.’
“The researchers found that administering THC to mice with human tumors initiated autophagy and caused the growth of the tumors to decrease. Two human patients with highly aggressive brain tumors who received intracranial administration of THC also showed similar signs of autophagy, upon analysis.
“The team behind the new study – co-led by Complutense University and the University of Anglia (UEA) in the UK – claims to have discovered previously unknown ‘signaling platforms’ that allow THC to shrink tumors.”