Did Cancer.gov Just Try To Sneak This Information By Us?

In July, something changed in how we think about fighting cancer. It was a shift that was barely noticeable, but those with a perceptive gaze would have noticed the significant update to the National Cancer Institute’s website, Cancer.gov. The website made a significant update to the section about marijuana/cannabis and its potential uses for treating cancer and its grisly side-effects.

What they changed, however, is shocking for several reasons!

Here’s What They Changed

For starters, we need to make a couple things clear: The government does not condone the use of marijuana and, in most states, it is illegal. More research needs to be done looking into the harmful effects of marijuana, especially when inhaled through smoke. In addition, more studies need to be done investigating how doctors can best administer cannabis, in which forms it is most affective (edible, smokable, there is even a topical form that can be administered underneath the tongue in a spray), in what doses, and for what they should prescribe it for.

That being said, the information that Cancer.gov recently posted is very optimistic about the future of cannabis in its application to the field of cancer research.

Aside from outlining the various medical uses for cannabis, the update to the website acknowledges marijuana’s practical uses in both fighting cancer and in helping with treatment, including specifics related to breast cancer. This is a big deal because the DEA still has marijuana listed as a Schedule I drug, alongside ecstasy, quaaludes, and heroin. Being a Schedule I substance means that drug dependency is highly likely and that the chemical has no medicinal use. But Cancer.gov’s new update conflicts with the latter part of marijuana’s DEA scheduling.

Here’s How It Affects Breast Cancer

In addition to subverting the DEA’s classification of cannabis, Cancer.gov’s update also includes a list of research studies done on animals that have showed extremely promising results in fighting cancer. They’ve included a section dedicated entirely to anti-tumor activity related to cannabis. The website explains:

“A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells showed that it caused cancer cell death while having little effect on normal breast cells. Studies in mouse models of metastatic breast cancer showed that cannabinoids may lessen the growth, number, and spread of tumors.”

Cancer.gov: “When taken by mouth (in baked products or as an herbal tea), Cannabis (delta-9-THC) is processed by the liver.” / Via Flickr

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Here’s How It Affects Pain Relief During Treatment

In addition to helping incite cell death in cancer cells, cannabinoids have also been shown to aid in treating the side effects of chemotherapy. Aside from showing to help with nausea and appetite stimulation for chemo patients,

“A study of a whole-plant extract of Cannabis that contained specific amounts of cannabinoids, which was sprayed under the tongue, found it was effective in patients with advanced cancer whose pain was not relieved by strong opioids alone.”

The suggestion here is that, when used in tandem with doctor-prescribed pain meds, cannabis was shown to help alleviate pain symptoms that opioids alone could not handle. When oxycontin and morphine are not enough, prove too addicting, or a patient is in need of too high a dose, certain compounds found within cannabis can complement these pain meds and provide patients with relief from their pain and nausea.

According to Cancer.gov:

“Two cannabinoid drugs approved in the United States are available under the names dronabinol and nabilone… An observational study of nabilone also showed that it relieved cancer pain along with nausea, anxiety, and distress when compared with no treatment. Neither dronabinol nor nabilone is approved by the FDA for pain management.”

Nabilone, one the FDA approved cannabinoids drugs / Via Bruhanden Grindage

What Does This Update Accomplish?

For us, this means fighting breast cancer with cannabinoids (chemicals found in cannabis) could become the way of the future.

However, we need to do more clinical research, especially on humans. This does not mean we should all starting illegally buying marijuana. But it means that we should be letting our government know that more research should be done in this hopeful new field of cancer treatment. By doing clinical trials on cannabinoids, we may be able to isolate the compounds within them that aid in fighting off breast cancer, as well as other forms of the disease.

Here’s How You Can Get Involved

The Breast Cancer Site has partnered with various charities. If you would like to help by donating to breast cancer research, there are several ways to do so. You can help contribute to breast cancer research that is decrypting the human genome as well as researchers who are fighting bone loss related to breast cancer.

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