Cannabis and Breast Cancer: It’s Not Just Palliative
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but are you aware of the efficacy of cannabis in treating breast cancer symptoms? There’s even research that suggests cannabis can reverse the progress of the disease itself.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer found in American women (excluding skin cancer). Approximately one in eight will be diagnosed in their lifetime.
Studies show that cannabis is helpful in treating nausea and vomiting—typical side effects of chemotherapy. Other studies have shown that cannabis is effective in treating pain from nerve damage and other sources. Consequently, more and more women are seeking out cannabis to find relief.
Is the Cannabis Cure Coming?
The American Cancer Society’s website cites studies in which THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids slowed the growth and/or killed certain types of cancer cells in the laboratory, as well as in animals. Cannabinoids are biological components of the cannabis plant that activate receptors in the body to produce pharmacologic effects, particularly in the central nervous system and the immune system.
A review, abstracted on the Society’s website, summarizes current knowledge regarding the anti-tumor potential of cannabinoids in breast cancer. It suggests that cannabinoid-based medicines may be useful for the treatment of most breast tumor subtypes, stating that “these compounds exert anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic [cell-killing], anti-migratory and anti-invasive actions in a wide spectrum of cancer cells in culture. Moreover, tumor growth and metastasis are hampered by cannabinoids in xenograft-based and genetically-engineered mouse models of cancer.”
The Bottom Line
While much progress has been made in the detection and treatment of breast cancer, some breast tumors remain resistant to existing therapies. Investigations into the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids have only just begun and could eventually yield life-saving results. Meanwhile, breast cancer patients can receive comfort and relief from their symptoms through cannabis.