In 1998, Dr. Christina Sanchez, a molecular biologist at the Complutense University of Madrid, reported that the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has an ability to kill cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells intact.
She discovered in lab tests and animal trials that when the cancer cells are exposed to THC, they not only cease to multiply but also destroy themselves.
A 2007 Harvard study has supported Dr. Sanchez’s findings that THC has a potential to combat cancer. The study tested the reaction of doses of THC in mice subjects.
The researchers found out that this component is able to reduce lung cancer growth in half as well as to decrease the cancer lesions. According to the findings of the study, the tumor growth can be reduced by half in only three weeks.
How Can Cannabis Combat Cancer?
The chemical components of cannabis, named cannabinoids, produce pharmacologic effects in the central nervous system and the immune system by activating specific receptors in the body.
Certain drugs, such as nabilone and dronabinol, are commercially available cannabinoids that are approved by the FDA for the treatment of the side effects caused by cancer-related diseases.
When the cannabis is consumed or inhaled, the cannabinoids are incorporated into the natural endocannabinoid system of the body.
This system is responsible for regulating many biological functions, including the reproduction, motor behavior, appetite, and food intake.
Due to this, the intake of cannabis forces the tumor cells into a state of apoptosis or self-destruction.
According to Dr. Sanchez, the greatest advantage of the cannabinoids is that they target only the tumor cells. Unlike in the case of standard chemotherapy, they don’t have any toxic effect on the healthy, non-tumor cells.
She adds that the cannabis shouldn’t be classified under Schedule I substances because, as proven by numerous researchers, it possesses wide therapeutic potential.
Another animal study proved that marijuana extracts can successfully treat one of the most serious kinds of brain tumors.
The study, conducted on mice, showed that when these extracts are used with radiation, they can increase the cancer-killing effects of the treatment.
Recently, the federal government has admitted that the marijuana is effective in destroying cancer cells. This groundbreaking declaration stated that the cannabis can kill certain types of cancer cells and decrease the size of others.