Marijuana For Prostate Cancer

Overview

Prostate cancer is a medical condition that results from the development of mutated cells in the prostate gland. Since the prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system, this disease only affects men. The growth of the mutated cells is rapid, and this causes them to continuously grow until they form a tumor. This interferes with the normal activities of the person suffering from the disease. After skin cancer, this type of cancer is the most common among men in the United States.

Conventional treatment methods

Currently, the forms of treatment administered to patients living with prostate cancer vary according to the individual. A majority of people with the disease generally have their prostate gland removed in a procedure known as a radical prostatectomy or are subjected to various forms of radiation. Chemotherapy, a method where chemical agents destroy the cancer cells in the prostate gland, can also be applied. Most remedies for prostate cancer usually result in adverse effects. These could result in problems in passing urine, erectile dysfunction and even infertility.

How marijuana helps to treat prostate cancer

Some laboratory and animal experiments have had positive results in the administration of cannabis for the treatment of prostate cancer. A 2012 research paper published some possible benefits of medical marijuana in limiting the propagation of prostate cancer as well as in its treatment. The paper found that there is increased expression of CB2 receptors within prostate cancer cells. These receptors are usually critical to the proper working of the endocannabinoid system.

Once the expression is increased above normal levels, it causes an imbalance in the body that could trigger prostate cancer. Cannabinoids present in medical marijuana stimulate CB1 and CB2 receptors. This results in a decrease in the lifespan of these cancer cells as well as an increase in apoptosis in the cells causing prostate cancer. Apoptosis is the self-destructing mechanism that occurs in cells. The study concludes in calling for more clinical trials to find out the exact nature of marijuana’s contribution to treating prostate cancer.

Research from 2010 also cites that the proper interaction of the endocannabinoid system is critical to the proper working of the anti-proliferative properties of omega-3 fatty acids. Cannabinoids present in medical marijuana contribute to the effective functioning of this system. This means that medical marijuana can successfully contribute to slowing down the propagation of cancer.

On a hormonal level, cannabis has been found to be beneficial for prostate cancer patients as a result of its anti-androgenic properties. Androgen is a male sex hormone that stimulates the growth of prostate cells. For people living with prostate cancer, the growth of their prostate cells results in the further growth of prostate cancer cells as well. The administration of medical marijuana has been proven to slow down cancer growth in the prostate gland by depriving the cells of androgen. This treatment method is known as androgen deprivation therapy.

A publication made in 2012 in the British Journal of Pharmacology also noted that cannabinoids present in marijuana have anti-tumor effects. These could positively contribute to the healing of prostate cancer by slowing down the tumor’s growth. CBD has also been proven to cause the self-destruction of cancer cells, thereby reducing the tumor’s size.

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