Cancer-fighting properties of marijuana’s active components have been acknowledged by the website of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a component of the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH). The body, however, stopped short of recognizing that cannabis may be recommended by oncologists as an anti-proliferative treatment therapy.
Last week, the agency added a new section to its cancer.gov website to address the issue of marijuana and cancer. The section, entitled ‘Cannabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ),’ 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.”
The website noted that preclinical trials have demonstrated that the active components of marijuana can selectively target and inhibit cancer cell growth. “Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis,” the site reads. “Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their non-transformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death.”
The site further states: “The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep.”