Of all the medical conditions that cannabis has been proven to be a viable treatment for, cancer remains one of the most common and fatal diseases to make the cut. However, the illegal status of the plant has continually hindered research, leaving most of the evidence supporting these benefits as strictly anecdotal.
But researchers from the University of London have recently discovered that cannabis might be a more effective treatment than most might have anticipated. In a study led by Dr. Wai Liu, the team found that cannabinoids have an exceptionally positive impact on the success of chemotherapy drugs.
Prior to this research, cannabis was already recognized as alleviating the nausea that is often experienced after chemotherapy sessions. The researchers have also found evidence that cannabinoids can increase the potency of chemotherapy and combat the growth of new tumor cells and tumor-feeding blood vessels.
The team observed cancer cells within their laboratory, trying out different combinations of cannabinoids on leukemia cells. The study aimed to sort out whether or not chemotherapy treatments worked more effectively alongside cannabinoids, as well as to determine which order they should be taken in.
These findings prove that highly concentrated cannabinoids were much more beneficial when taken after chemotherapy, rather than prior to the treatment. After using cannabis-based extracts on animals, the research team also discovered that these cannabinoids may be equally effective on glioblastoma, considered to be the most aggressive form of brain cancer.
It’s important to note that the efficacy of cannabinoids in this study are related to highly concentrated and purified extracts. According to the research team, simply smoking cannabis will not have the same impact. The study, entitled “Anticancer mechanisms of cannabinoids,” was recently published in the International Journal of Oncology.
Even prior to this breakthrough study, the positive impact that cannabis has on cancer patients is causing some to move to states with a medical cannabis system or to seek out treatment through the black market. But as legalization spreads and more research becomes permitted, cancer patients across the world may soon have an invulnerable argument for better access to medical cannabis treatment.