I recently came across quite the controversial article. This article was on cancer and cannabis but really brought to light a point of view most people don’t usually look at.
The article mentioned above was one posted on The Conversation and written by David Robert Grimes. Grimes is a researcher from Queen’s University Belfast and has been funded at times by Cancer Research UK. He wrote on the topic of cannabis and whether or not it cured cancer and while most people would say yes right off the bat he goes over several points that you may or may not agree with.
Let’s start by asking what the medical efficacy might be. Contrary to what most people believe, medical uses of cannabis have been widely studied. A 2017 review by the National Academy of Science looked at over 10,000 studies. They found evidence for some applications of cannabis, including managing chronic pain and spasms associated with multiple sclerosis. There was also good evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, can reduce the nausea caused by chemotherapy. Indeed, a synthetic form of THC, called dronabinol, has been prescribed for just this use for decades.
But, crucially, there is zero evidence that cannabis has any curative or even helpful impact on cancer, despite enthusiastic claims to the contrary.
Why then is there such a gulf between public perception and scientific evidence? Part of this is misunderstanding. For example, an often aired claim is that high-dose THC kills cancer cells in a petri dish. This is true, but not very meaningful.
Killing cells in a dish is extremely easy; you can do so with anything from heat to bleach. But effective anti-cancer agents must be able to selectively kill cancer cells in the human body while sparing healthy ones. The reality is that cannabis simply cannot do this.
Basically what he was saying is that while cannabis can help with the side effects that come with chemotherapy there is no real evidence that it can do more than that. That being said, there are lots of people who beg to differ. However, he does bring up a good point, that just because we can do it in a petri dish doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be clinically tested and studied properly just as anything else should be.
He also goes on to say that considering how many people are affected by cancer if curing it were as simple as using cannabis many would already be doing it and no one would have cancer. What do you think? Is he wrong or is there just more to it than we can explain? While cancer is a very complex kind of disease and cannabis isn’t going to cure every single case and sometimes might not be enough on its own there is no denying the benefits to its use in regards.
Whether or not you can say it is ‘the cure or a cure’ really just depends on what you consider a cure to be. I guess in this situation you would have to draw your own perspective. Sure, cannabis is a very beneficial plant and its use in all forms can offer us many things but in the world of cancer which side is right, those who say it does heal or those who don’t? Personally, after looking into the mounting evidence behind cannabis, I’d rather use it than not if I were ever diagnosed with cancer and I would not be open to chemotherapy.