How cannabis helps in the treatment of brain cancer
Studies conducted by researchers at the University of Madrid have investigated the use of cannabis-based treatments to kill glioma cells. Glioma cells usually make up 80 percent or more of malignant-type brain cancers. In one of the studies conducted by the team led by Dr. Velasco, they found positive effects of cannabis in the inhibition of glioma cells. The application of THC (one of marijuana’s most well known cannabinoids) on these cells caused them to stop growing. In this way, medical marijuana inhibited the propagation of the tumor.
With continuous administration of THC on the brain tumor, glioma cells began to die. Medical marijuana has been proven to kill glioblastoma cells in different ways. A 2004 study highlights that cannabis alters the genes for cancer cells that have the VEGF trait. VEGF stands for vascular endothelial growth factor. When cells are growing, the VEGF compound helps them create more blood vessels to facilitate their growth. The study showed that application of cannabinoid medicines limited VEGF present in the tumor, therefore reducing its blood supply. This stopped cancer cells from growing.
As a result of the reduced blood supply caused by cannabis, cancer cells are starved of nutrients. The cells then commit suicide in a process referred to as ‘programmed cell death’. The administration of THC caused the cancer cells to automatically digest themselves, therefore eradicating them.
A 2006 pilot study had nine patients with brain cancer that was unresponsive to conventional treatment methods get treated with medical marijuana. Eight of the nine patients had a positive response to the treatment. Doses of THC were administered to their brains directly. The patients typically had 24 weeks to live. With treatment from medical marijuana, however, two of the nine patients were able to live on for another year. In these ways, cannabis proved useful for the treatment of brain cancer.
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