Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer type in the world. Out of 100 known cancer types, breast cancer single-handedly accounts for 11.7% of the cases. In a world where we are constantly reminded of smoking causes cancer, the disgusting lungs picture, liver cirrhosis; breast cancer remains in the shadow. It’s ironic as it is on the top. If the case is such for the entire world, it’s likely the same for our country, Nepal. Unfortunately, there aren’t any recent databases or records of breast cancers kept. Breast cancer. the most active killer of our mothers can make its way through if not careful.
Before you proceed on with the article, here are some cancer terminologies you need to be familiar with.
Metastasis: cancer spreading to other parts of the body
Apoptosis: natural cell death
Endocannabinoid system: biological system which responds to cannabinoids
Breast Cancer Overview
If you don’t know what breast cancer is, there are a lot more insightful sites you can find. But in a gist, it is a type of cancer that originates on the breast due to abnormal growth of cells. To kill a cancer cell is a heavy task for medical professionals. This is what chemotherapy focuses on, to kill the cancer cells. But cancers can be more proliferating than expected, causing chemo to fail. The most effective way to treat cancer is apoptosis. This is what the primary focus of CBD is. CBD is seen as an effective component in curing cancer as it stimulates the natural cell death in the body. This is also the reason for far fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
How does Cannabis cure Breast Cancer?
Cancers work by invading other tissues and organs called metastasis. These chunks of invading cells are collectively known as tumors. When cancer cells reach a certain level of concentration, they stop taking signals from other cells for apoptosis and completely discard the endocannabinoid system. The Endocannabinoid system particularly takes part in curing cancer as it is involved in stimulating apoptosis and controlling cell death. Current studies show that cannabis can directly cease the abnormal growth of cancer cells. Although there aren’t many effective studies done on humans, experiments in the lab show that the use of cannabis at an early stage will likely cure cancer and can reduce cell growth in later stages as well.
The endocannabinoid system particularly consists of CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain. CB2 receptors are found throughout the body in the endocannabinoid system. CBD particularly latch to CB2 receptors. Now, it doesn’t have to be CBD, as long as it binds to CB2 receptors the mechanism is almost similar. When CB2 receptors get latched with CBD and others, it stimulates cell death. And as a result, it kills cancer cells and prevents further cell proliferation. Animal tests have shown that CB2 receptors when signaled, can obstruct cancer cell proliferation, induce cancer cell apoptosis, and impair tumor formation. And very few studies have shown that even THC takes part in reducing metastasis in breast cancers spread to the lungs.
How do the women feel about using cannabis as treatment?
All these talks would go to waste if women themselves stay away from using cannabis for their treatment. But it’s not the actual case. In a survey, among 27 years to 84-year-old cancer patients, 42% of them agreed to use the plant. Among those, 75% of them reported that nothing bad ever happened.
They also reported cannabis was the most effective in symptom management. Even after undergoing chemotherapy, they felt joyful, had an increased appetite, and well stress management. The reason for these is CB1 receptors. CB1 receptors, in particular, affect mood, behavior, and brain functions. When the patients are in the right headspace, they can connect more with their family, enjoy their time despite having cancer. The survey also found that cannabis reduced sickness which is said to be the worst side effect of chemotherapy.
So, it seems that the only thing holding off is education and stigma. If the patients are educated about using the plant, if nothing but to reduce symptoms, a lot more people could spend their time in ease.
Future of Cancer and Cannabis
Cannabis has a very promising future in cancer treatment. If such promising results are derived from a few studies done on animals, the result we can obtain after doing human trials is thrilling. Cannabis does not only cure breast cancer. It has shown the potential to control even aggressive cancers. There are more case studies of people recovering than there are researches done. Breast cancer is the most common cancer and as a result use of the plant for breast cancer is more focused than other cancer types. But many more types of cancers are reported to be cured. The only difference is, they used a different strain. Only laboratory research can determine a particular strain for a particular type of cancer. The decriminalization of cannabis possesses more potential than of alcohol.
The studies concluded that the results are relatively better with higher potency. On the contrary, the only legal cannabis is the one with less than 0.3% THC. The stigma criminalization created has affected more people than ever. Governments spend millions of dollars in funding cures. But they refuse to give their attention to the plant that has shown more positive results than any other drugs. These contradictory acts of the government are nothing but a fallacy. It makes absolutely no sense especially that the system is depriving the patients of their basic human needs. Ignorance and stigma are the home ground of human death. It’s never too late to open up about the taboo in society. Cancer patients deserve to get the medication of choice and the government should be the last one to interrupt.
In a survey, among 27 years to 84-year-old cancer patients, 42% of them agreed to use the plant. Among those, 75% of them reported that nothing bad ever happened.