By Kyle Jaeger @KYLEJAEGER on AUGUST 25TH 2015
There’s really no other way to put this: the National Cancer Institute, which operates under the U.S. Department of Health, just confirmed that cannabis kills cancer cells.
In a recent update to the department’s Physician Data Query (PDQ) cancer information summary on cannabis and cannabinoids, the NIC reported that pre-clinical trials have demonstrated that cannabinoids, active components of cannabis, inhibit tumor growth by killing cancer cells, blocking cell growth, and preventing the development of blood vessels that tumors need to grow.
“Laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells,” the organization wrote.
Not only has research established that marijuana contains medicinal properties that reduce inflammation of the colon in mice, but the substance has even shown potential for reducing the risk of colon cancer, as well as being effective in the treatment of the disease. Marijuana’s effect on chronic pain and nausea—which many cancer patients experience throughout the treatment process—were additionally referenced in the PDQ.
Further, the department included a note about the findings of another laboratory study that concluded that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, killed breast cancer cells “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,” researchers added.
The NIC also recognized that marijuana use was associated with a 45 percent reduction in the incidence of bladder cancer, as noted in an analysis of more than 84,000 people by the California Men’s Health Study.
Asked about the recent changes to its executive summary, NIC spokesperson Katherine Jenkins told ATTN: that “the PDQ Editorial Boards conduct regular reviews of newly published peer-reviewed literature to maintain the currency of the PDQ cancer information summaries,” adding that the PDQ on cannabis and cannabinoid was last updated on August 7.
Still, the organization did not fully condone the use of cannabis for cancer treatment; instead, it recommended that further research is needed. “At present, there is insufficient evidence to recommend inhaling cannabis as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms or cancer treatment–related side effects.”