Conventional cancer treatments produce devastating side effects: chemotherapy causes fatigue, anaemia, hair loss, affects healthy cells, and often fails to treat the root cause of cancer. Some patients turn towards alternative treatments, either as an adjunct therapy or complete replacement. After searching for a while, many of them land on cannabis.
Cannabis can help to treat cancer from multiple different angles. Some constituents within the herb can kill cancer cells within a laboratory setting, and animal studies show protective effects against certain kinds of tumours.
As well as potentially striking the root cause of the disease, cannabis can help to manage the side effects of conventional treatments.
A review published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid research looked at the ability of CBD, and its chemical precursor CBDA, to combat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
The authors of the paper include legendary cannabis scientists Raphael Mechoulam (the man who discovered THC) and Roger Pertwee.
The authors state that nausea and vomiting are the most distressing symptoms experienced by patients undergoing anticancer treatment.
After reviewing the available data, they found that both CBD and CBDA offer relief from these side effects. Of the two, CBDA acted with more potency.
Cannabis seems destined to play a role in the future of cancer, both as a primary therapeutic and means of combating the side effects of conventional treatment.