According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 6 deaths globally is due to cancer. Because there is no entirely reliable cure for this aggressive disease, many cancer patients use dagga for cancer and other alternative treatments to supplement (and in some cases replace) chemotherapy. Traditional treatments are often effective. Yet they have numerous side effects which may impair quality of life. CBD oil has thus become a popular alternative remedy.
What are the medicinal properties of dagga for cancer treatment?
Using dagga for cancer has its supporters as well as detractors. Cannabis has become one of the most popular natural remedies for cancer for good reason. Although it has long been used as a recreational drug, cannabis also has many medicinal properties. Besides being an effective painkiller, researchers have also found promising evidence that dagga has cancer-fighting properties.
Cannabis contains compounds called cannabinoids. The compounds THC and CBD are the main active components thought to have cancer-fighting properties. Here are some properties dagga for cancer treatment is alleged to have:
- Tumour-inhibiting properties
Studies on animal cells have shown promising signs that THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol, an active component of the cannabis plant, decreases tumour growth. Some argue, however, that more extensive human trials are required to truly prove these effects.
- Prevention of cancer spreading
One of the devastating abilities of cancer is its ability to spread rapidly from one site of the body to others. However, researchers are finding increasingly promising signs that THC in cannabis may inhibit the spread of cancerous cells. This has led to a call for more stringent clinical studies.
- Anti-angiogenic properties
Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels. In cancer patients, new blood vessels ‘feed’ growing tumours with oxygen and nutrients, and this enables tumours to enlarge and cancer cells to invade nearby bodily tissues.
Cannabinoids, however, are capable of regulating signalling pathways involved in cell survival, and it is thought that they may help to prevent new blood vessels feeding cancerous tumours. It is thought that cannabis may decrease the supply of nutrients and oxygen to tumours, causing them to die off.
- Inducing apoptosis
‘Apoptosis’ is a kind of ‘programmed’ cell death that occurs naturally in multicellular organisms. It’s essential to human development. When we are in vitro before being born, there is webbing between our fingers and toes that disappears due to apoptosis, for example.
Studies have investigated cannabinoids effects on apoptosis. Some researchers suggest that cannabinoids have a growth-inhibiting function that naturally fuels apoptosis in cancer cells such as those found in malignant brain tumours. A 2016 Israeli study, for example, found that CBD could induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Although cancer cells can ‘turn off’ apoptosis through their highly adaptable, fast-changing nature, studies such as these are promising for using medical marijuana to treat cancer.
As more studies into dagga for cancer treatment are carried out, we will likely discover more benefits of marijuana for treatment. The above medicinal properties of cannabis suggest there could at last be effective treatments for this aggressive disease in years to come.