This cancer information summary provides an overview of the use of Cannabis and its components as a treatment for people with cancer-related symptoms caused by the disease itself or its treatment.
This summary contains the following key information:
- Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
- By federal law, the possession of Cannabis is illegal in the United States, except within approved research settings; however, a growing number of states, territories, and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize its medical use.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved Cannabis as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition.
- Chemical components of Cannabis, called cannabinoids, activate specific receptors throughout the body to produce pharmacologic effects, particularly in the central nervous system and the immune system.
- Commercially available cannabinoids, such as dronabinol and nabilone, are approved drugs for the treatment of cancer-related side effects.
- Cannabinoids may have benefits in the treatment of cancer-related side effects.
Many of the medical and scientific terms used in this summary are hypertext linked (at first use in each section) to the NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms, which is oriented toward nonexperts. When a linked term is clicked, a definition will appear in a separate window.
Reference citations in some PDQ cancer information summaries may include links to external websites that are operated by individuals or organizations for the purpose of marketing or advocating the use of specific treatments or products. These reference citations are included for informational purposes only. Their inclusion should not be viewed as an endorsement of the content of the websites, or of any treatment or product, by the PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board or the National Cancer Institute.
Did you know cancer is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in the United States? Or that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S? In 2015 alone, there were 8.8 million deaths globally attributed to cancer.
Cancer is one of the biggest health crises we’re facing today. Affecting women, men, young, and the old – cancer impacts millions of lives around the globe. Conventional treatments for cancer today include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. These treatments are expensive, though, not to mention risky. Studies show that chemo and radiation can cause secondary cancers.
Yet, research also indicates herbs play an integral role in fighting cancer. In fact, cannabis exhibit cancer-fighting properties. Unlike chemotherapy or radiation, these natural herbs pose minimal risk or side effects. Which begs the question, could chamomile in combination with cannabis help kill cancer? After all, both of these herbs are anticarcinogens. Could there be a link by combining the two? Science seems to say yes.
The first uses of chamomile date back over 5,000 years ago. Chamomile was used for treating numerous ailments such as:
Today, evidence indicates chamomile also displays potent anti-cancer properties. A study published in 2007 examined the effects of chamomile extracts on cancerous cells. During the course of the study, chamomile extracts were tested on healthy human cells and cancerous cells. The researchers found that the extracts caused minimal growth inhibitory on healthy cells but a remarkable reduction in cancerous cells. In fact, the chamomile extracts facilitated apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells but not in normal cells. This is incredible when we consider current cancer treatments like chemotherapy kill healthy cells. Not to mention lead to the development of secondary cancers.
Another study in 2015 also concluded chamomile’s potent anti-cancer properties. Researchers found that thirty years of consumption of chamomile significantly reduced the risk of thyroid cancer and benign thyroid disease by 80%. While chamomile certainly isn’t the only factor in the onset or treatment of cancer, other factors such as lifestyle and diet do come into play; the medicinal value of chamomile in treating cancer is evident.
Cannabis kills cancer cells
Cannabis also exhibits anti-cancer properties. Scientific evidence shows that when cannabinoids enter the body, they cause cancerous cells to commit suicide (apoptosis) without harming healthy cells says marijuana doctors in Florida. A 2007 Harvard study published in the American Association for Cancer Research found that the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (aka THC) cuts the growth of tumors in half. In addition, the study also revealed cannabis inhibited cancer’s ability to spread. While it’s important to mention this study was conducted on animal subjects rather than humans, this isn’t the first study to show that cannabis fights cancer.