Strong reasons make strong actions: medical cannabis and cancer—a call for collective action

Logo of curroncol“Call it cannabis, not marijuana or weed.

It has been more than 17 years since the Canadian prohibitory regulations on the use of medical cannabis began to ease and more than 17 weeks (more than 6 months by the time of publication) since the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) became law. Cannabis use for medical purposes has been part of the historical record and medical writings for millennia. However, it is only in the last 30 years that the workings of the human endocannabinoid system have been described and its receptors discovered. Amazing as all of those developments have been, the challenge of reintegrating cannabis into the science of modern medicine—and particularly care for patients with cancer—is a need whose time has come.

Surveys inform us that patients with cancer are using cannabis to manage symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatment. More concerning is that their use is for a medical need occurring outside the confines of modern cancer care, with patients accessing their cannabis from friends and family, and often from casual or unlicensed suppliers. Beliefs in the benefits of cannabis—for its yet unfounded therapeutic potential—are commonly held or supported by poor-quality evidence. Patients and their caregivers are inundated with media stories about a budding industry and its mergers and acquisitions while it grows to meet a need for what is regarded by some as overlooked and undertreated ailments. How should oncologists and the oncology team, trusted as the informed and compassionate advocates for their patients, reconcile the overwhelming public attention being given to this product—growing more, creating new routes of administration, and reaching for new uses—with the work needed to further the science of cannabis as it pertains to cancer care?

The onus is on us, the community of cancer care providers, to act.

Therapeutic and clinical developments in oncology are resulting in improvements in the survival of many patients. Costly immunologic therapies are promising and are being implemented for a variety of cancers. New science about the microbiome, about cancer detection, and about targeted therapies are being researched. And yet, contrasted against those celebrations of scientific ingenuity are the glaring gaps in the work pertaining to cannabis to settle unsubstantiated claims and anecdotal observations of this elixir for the ages. As clinicians and scientists, we must work to generate the needed evidence-based outcomes and to document or dispel the potential interactions and sequelae between cannabis and prescribed cancer treatments. “There are in fact two things, science and opinion, the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance”.

The frameworks to lead this charge are ours to create. The current legal framework is focused on issues of access and control to regulate production, distribution, and sale. The medical framework for cannabis research is more tenuous, concentrated in silos of expertise as a result of the previous prohibitory environment. The study of cannabis is ripe for development, but even intra-institutional endeavors require help. The machinery of science requires some assembly and repurposing to address the new challenges.

If the current and future oncology landscape is a challenge for those working in cancer care, we must remember that patients deserve our compassion as they attempt to navigate this emotional journey with or without cannabis. More importantly, they need our support and deserve to see us take leadership in cannabis research. Oncologists who have expertise in both the clinical and scientific worlds must inform the necessary work. We must be the architects of its design, building bridges to industry and patients, while engaging our academic institutions.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success”.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6588059/

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Can marijuana help eczema?

Logo of National Eczema Association

“A medical doctor and researchers in the cannabis industry explain the science behind cannabis as a potential treatment for atopic dermatitis.

Weed cream. THC lotion. CBD salve. They go by many names, and there is a lot of interest and hope in the dermatological community that marijuana—or cannabis—may provide an alternate treatment pathway for a variety of skin diseases, especially atopic dermatitis (AD).

Cannabinoids represent an exciting prospect for the future of AD therapy. With measurable anti-itch, anti-pain, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, the effect of cannabinoids in patients with AD has already begun to be demonstrated.”  https://nationaleczema.org/can-marijuana-help/

Can marijuana help eczema?

“Cannabis could help cure eczema by controlling bacteria that causes skin condition. Research from the National Eczema Association indicates cannabis may help relieve some skin conditions. CANNABIS might be able to solve some eczema problems as research indicates it could take away the itch that comes with the skin condition.” https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6432805/cannabis-help-treat-cure-eczema/

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Cannabidiol: Swinging the Marijuana Pendulum From ‘Weed’ to Medication to Treat the Opioid Epidemic.

Image result for trends in neurosciences

“Epidemics require a paradigm shift in thinking about all possible solutions. The rapidly changing sociopolitical marijuana landscape provides a foundation for the therapeutic development of medicinal cannabidiol to address the current opioid abuse crisis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28162799

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Smoking cannabis ‘helps addicts give up heroin’, study finds

Smoking cannabis ‘helps addicts give up heroin’, study finds

“Smoking weed helps patients give up opiates such as heroin, a new study has found.

Researchers at Columbia University monitored patients undergoing treatment for opiate addiction – and found that patients who smoked weed were more able to sleep, less anxious, and more likely to complete their course.

 The researchers also found that dosing patients with dronabinol – a drug consisting of the ‘active’ ingredient in cannabis, THC – helped with withdrawal symptoms.”

http://metro.co.uk/2015/12/02/smoking-cannabis-helps-addicts-give-up-heroin-study-finds-5538896/

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Smoking cannabis ‘may help alcoholics to quit drinking’

“Scientists have claimed that smoking weed may actually help alcoholics kick their drinking habit for good.

Despite cannabis being regarded by anti-drugs campaigners as a ‘gateway drug’ to more addictive and harder substances, experts at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada think the opposite is true.

UBC researcher Zach Walsh explained: “Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce the use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication.

“In reviewing the limited evidence on medical cannabis, it appears that patients and others who have advocated for cannabis as a tool for harm reduction and mental health have some valid points.””

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/smoking-cannabis-may-help-alcoholics-to-quit-drinking-114645222.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=fb

“Smoking Cannabis May HELP Treat Alcohol/Drug Addiction And Mental Health Disorders” http://jewishbusinessnews.com/2016/11/16/smoking-cannabis-may-help-alcoholics-to-quit-drinking/

“Smoking Marijuana Could Help Alcoholics and Opioid Addicts Treat Their Addictions” http://thescienceexplorer.com/brain-and-body/smoking-marijuana-could-help-alcoholics-and-opioid-addicts-treat-their-addictions

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Getting into the weed: the role of the endocannabinoid system in the brain-gut axis.

“The actions of cannabis are mediated by receptors that are part of an endogenous cannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of the naturally occurring ligands N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), their biosynthetic and degradative enzymes, and the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2.

The ECS is a widely distributed transmitter system that controls gut functions peripherally and centrally. It is an important physiologic regulator of gastrointestinal motility.

Polymorphisms in the gene encoding CB1 (CNR1) have been associated with some forms of irritable bowel syndrome. The ECS is involved in the control of nausea and vomiting and visceral sensation. The homeostatic role of the ECS also extends to the control of intestinal inflammation.

We review the mechanisms by which the ECS links stress and visceral pain. CB1 in sensory ganglia controls visceral sensation, and transcription of CNR1 is modified through epigenetic processes under conditions of chronic stress. These processes might link stress with abdominal pain.

The ECS is also involved centrally in the manifestation of stress, and endocannabinoid signaling reduces the activity of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal pathways via actions in specific brain regions-notably the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hypothalamus.

Agents that modulate the ECS are in early stages of development for treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. Increasing our understanding of the ECS will greatly advance our knowledge of interactions between the brain and gut and could lead to new treatments for gastrointestinal disorders.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27133395

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Smoking marijuana reduces cancer risk

“Marijuana reduces cancer risk and kills existing tumors”

People smoke a joint during a demonstration organised by the CIRC (research and information center) and entitled 'L'appel du 18 juin' (the call of June 18) to claim for the legalization of the use of marijuana and hashish, on June 18, 2011 at the Parc de la Villette in Paris. The 'Appel du 18 Joint' uses a play on words to make their point, coming on the same day as France celebrates the 'Appel du 18 Juin' or Call of 18 June, when Charles de Gaulle called for resistance against collaborationist Vichy government in 1940. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR

“This may be hard to believe — as we’re fairly accustomed to the notion that inhaling smoke is always bad for your health — but research shows smoking marijuana actually decreases the risk for developing lung cancer.

According to multiple study findings published on Cancer.gov, “Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death.”

Dr. Donald Tashkin, professor emeritus of medicine at UCLA, also recently revealed to LA Weekly that after 30 years of studying the effects of marijuana smoke on lung function, he did not find any association between lung cancer and smoking weed.

Smoking marijuana doesn’t lead to impaired lung function either

Tashkin also found smoking marijuana does not lead to impaired lung function even after years of habitual use.”

More: http://extract.suntimes.com/information-resources/10/153/892/smoking-marijuana-reduces-cancer-risk

“Cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death.” http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/cannabis-pdq#section/all

http://www.thctotalhealthcare.com/category/cancer/

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Common weed helps treat herpes, study finds

herpes

“Tansy, a flowering plant that has long been used as a folk remedy to treat fevers, rheumatism, and other conditions, may now have another known health benefit. According to a recent study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, antiviral compounds naturally present in tansy show effectiveness in treating the herpes virus.”

http://www.naturalnews.com/031510_weed_herpes.html

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Marijuana can treat autoimmune diseases, scientific study states

“Weed enthusiasts are getting their case for nationwide decriminalization of marijuana bolstered considerably by a new scientific study that promises the controversial plant can treat multiple medical maladies.

Scientists at the University of South Carolina have discovered marijuana’s potential to treat autoimmune diseases — such as arthritis, lupus, colitis and multiple sclerosis — in which chronic inflammation plays a pivotal role.

The Journal of Biological Chemistry published the researchers’ findings that state marijuana’s potential key role in fighting these diseases lies in its capacity to suppress certain immune functions, most particularly inflammation.

The study examined whether marijuana’s main active constituent, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), could affect DNA through “epigenetic” pathways.

The group of molecules with the capacity to alter DNA and the functioning of genes it controls is collectively referred to as the epigenome. It includes a group of molecules called histones, which are responsible for inflammation, both beneficial and harmful.

The research team, led by Mitzi Nagarkatti, Prakash Nagarkatti and Xiaoming Yang, found that THC can, indeed, affect DNA expression through epigenetic pathways by altering histones.

As recreational and medical use of marijuana become more acceptable in developed countries, more research is being conducted and more potential health applications are being uncovered.

Marijuana already has a variety of medical uses including treatment of chronic pain, nausea, vomiting and the wasting syndrome experienced by some AIDS patients.”

http://atlantadailyworld.com/2014/06/05/marijuana-can-treat-autoimmune-diseases-scientific-study-states/

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Weed cures AIDS according to a new study. YAY potheads

“According to a new study published in the journal PloS ONE, researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine discovered that marijuana-like compounds can inhibit the multiplication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in late-stage AIDS by acting on viral receptors…

“We knew that cannabinoid drugs like marijuana can have a therapeutic effect in AIDS patients, but did not understand how they influence the spread of the virus itself. We wanted to explore cannabinoid receptors as a target for pharmaceutical interventions that treat the symptoms of late-stage AIDS and prevent further progression of the disease…”

More: http://www.gamespot.com/forums/offtopic-discussion-314159273/weed-cures-aids-according-to-a-new-study-yay-pothe-29105548/

 

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