Promising Research, But No Hard Proof Yet
Researchers have been investigating the therapeutic effects of cannabis oil, also known as hemp oil, since the 1970s. Plenty of studies involving cannabinoids’ effect on cancer cells have shown the type of results that encourage further investigation. Unfortunately, almost all of this research has been done on lab-grown cancer cells or on animals. As of today, we have seen nothing that conclusively proves that cancer in humans can be treated or prevented entirely by hemp or cannabis oil.
What The Research Shows
That said, some of the incredible effects that various synthetic and natural cannabinoids have shown include stopping blood vessels from becoming tumors, causing cell death, preventing cells from invading nearby tissues, and stopping cells from dividing. All of these features are valuable if they can be backed up in clinical trials. One problem is that these trials haven’t taken place yet. Also, researchers have found that sometimes cancer cells develop resistance to cannabinoids, although this can be prevented. Finally, there is evidence that in some cases hemp oil could even have a negative effect on cancer patients’ immune systems. Researchers need to continue investigating these things, and they need to do so on humans, before we can know the full truth.
Only one clinical trial has taken place with humans using cannabinoids to fight cancer. Nine patients with advanced brain tumors received purified THC directly into their brains. This is not exactly the same thing as hemp oil. While all nine patients died within the year (this was expected, considering the stage of the cancer) the results were still promising. The trial showed that humans can use cannabinoids for cancer treatment without suffering dangerous side effects. There is also a case study about a girl who used hemp oil to treat cancer, but this is not the same as a human trial, even if the results were again very exciting.
What It All Means
Overall, the verdict is still out. Scientists need to determine dosages, whether to use synthetics or natural cannabinoids, and answer many other questions before we’ll know for sure. The good news is that several clinical trials with human patients are currently underway or being set up. Alsop, if the effects of cannabinoids on animals are any guide, it seems very likely we will have some good news in the future. For example, mice given doses of THC had much lower rates of cancer than normal mice. Skipping out on conventional cancer treatments in favor of using only hemp oil to treat cancer is not recommended at this point. However, when combined with standard treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation treatments, cannabis oil can be very helpful. Even beyond the promising research mentioned above, it is widely accepted that THC and other cannabinoids also help treat the symptoms of cancer, such as pain and nausea. The main concerns are using “street” cannabis from unknown sources, and patients with heart problems (as cannabinoids can raise the heart rate).