Humans have been using marijuana for its potency as a useful, natural, and cheap drug against different ailments such as pain, inflammation, and others. Now, in the modern age, cancer is one of those human ailments that have exhausted much of our medical knowledge already and yet we could not figure out entirely how to cure. This led to the funding of researches into the possible application of cannabis as a cure for cancer or as a provider of symptom relief for those who suffer from cancer.
Currently, indica strains for cancer have become central in different studies as a possible cure for cancer and its symptoms.
Cannabis indica or simply referred to as indica is a cannabis strain that is naturally low in tetrahydrocannabinol or THC yet high in cannabidiol or CBD. THC is the psychoactive compound that is found in marijuana that causes the experience of being high in users. Cannabidiol or CBD is the non-psychoactive but medicinal ingredient of marijuana.
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How Indica Strains Could Relieve Cancer Symptoms
Studies have shown that smoking marijuana helps relieve nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. It is also used as a treatment of neuropathic pain caused by damaged nerves in the body. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause peripheral neuropathy, a set of symptoms that are caused by the damage to nerves that control the sensations and movements of our arms, legs, hands, and feet. Scientists have reported that CBD slows down growth or kill certain types of cancer cells in lab dishes.
Humans naturally have an endocannabinoid system or ECS in our bodies. They run through our whole bodies and regulate many different vital biological functions in our bodies and they contain cannabinoid receptors. These cannabinoid receptors receive cannabinoid that is released by the body every time it is subjected to stress or other stimuli. The ECS receives these endocannabinoids through its receptors and triggers a response such as the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone that regulates a wide range of processes throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune response, whenever the body is put under stress.
Marijuana has cannabinoids too and they enter our bodies through smoking or ingestion. These different cannabinoids are naturally received by our bodies’ ECS too because of their molecules as exactly like our natural body cannabinoids. Whenever the ECS receptors receive THC and CBD for example, the body is triggered to release hormones that relax the body, stop the pain, improve appetite and many others. CBD specifically, the cannabinoid that could be found in indica strains have anti-cancer effects whenever it is received by our ECS.
Scientists are also looking at the other compounds found in marijuana as the relief brought about by CBD-rich marijuana strains such as indica could have been the sum of all its different components and not simply from the THC or CBD content of indica strains. Researchers call it, ‘the entourage effect,’ when all the individual components of marijuana work together to create an effect. In 2018, a study that compared the antitumor effects of THC alone compared to a whole plant extract and found that the extract was more potent than THC in cell culture and animal models of triple-negative breast cancer.
Current CBD Drugs Available
Currently, there are CBD-based drugs that are legally available for the cure of symptoms of cancer and other diseases.
- Epidiolex contains natural CBD derived from cannabis as a cure for two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in patients 2 years of age and older.
- Nabiximols is a cannabinoid drug with one to one mix of THC and CBD that is still under study in the US. It’s a mouth spray and is available in Canada and parts of Europe to treat pain linked to cancer, as well as muscle spasms and pain from multiple sclerosis (MS). It’s not yet approved in the US but is being tested in clinical trials to see if it can help several conditions.
Marijuana Safety for Treating Cancer
Studies have shown that CBD in marijuana or marijuana as a whole is safe to use for cancer treatment and the relief of its symptoms. Use of marijuana for cancer treatment is still recommended to be in conjunction with other cancer drugs and treatment for maximum benefit. Use of marijuana alone as treatment while not availing conventional medical care may have serious results.
Ingesting marijuana may also have varying effects that are hard to predict due to factors such as the amount of smoke inhaled or potency of the marijuana oil mixed in the food and other ways of administering.
Marijuana could also pose safety risks to the user whenever they’re moving and motor skills are affected by the psychoactive ingredient THC. Fortunately, medical marijuana strains are selected from those that are high in CBD and low on THC. CBD-rich indica marijuana strains are good for day use.
Dr. Donald Abrams Professor of Clinical Medicine at University of California San Francisco and general oncologist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, stated: “That being said, what we do know is that cannabis is truly an amazing medicine for many cancer and treatment-related side effects — nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia.”
Studies on the effect of indica strain for cancer particularly its CBD content are still few and far in between since marijuana itself is never an accepted source or medicine as it is still illegal in most parts of the world. But soon enough, as researchers delve deeper into the healing potentials of CBD in marijuana and establish it through proper scientific methods, we would find more CBD-based drugs in the legal market or we may even see more countries, states, and territories legalizing medical marijuana for the treatment of cancer.
What is more, we may even see this wonderful plant that has been a part of human existence for thousands of years we well-accepted by society as a cure and not as a disease.