There have long been positive correlations between cannabis use and cancer risk/treatment postulated by medical professionals. Unfortunately, the outdated and useless anti-marijuana laws in the United States have kept research minimal and the ability to share findings has been largely prevented.
As more states open up legality – both for medical and recreational cannabis products – research into how and if cannabis can help cancer is increasing as well. While increased legality is great news for cannabis enthusiasts, for those dealing with cancer, this could be a huge boon for treating and coping with cancer (and cancer treatment).
Let’s take a look at how an improved cultural climate towards cannabis can benefit our health.
How anti-cannabis laws block scientific progress
Currently, cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. While many states have legalized it, this federal block still means that many high-level research institutes open themselves up to federal penalization or worse just by studying the plant’s properties. Additionally, sharing research done on an illegal substance can be difficult, both out of fear and the very real possibility of legal reprisal.
Additionally, grants are handed out from the federal government for various research programs every year, and for serious studies to be conducted, universities and labs need funding. With cannabis being illegal, those grants will not be allocated to programs that aim to study its benefits. Without government funding, these programs rely solely on private donations, and that’s often not enough to create quality research programs.
Even in states where cannabis is recreationally legal, high-level universities still might fear conducting or publishing cannabis-related research. This might not necessarily be because of fear of government sanction, but rather the cultural climate that still condemns cannabis in many places. Public condemnation – even if it’s completely unwarranted – can still impact their enrollment and ability to do future research.
Current understanding of the pros and cons of marijuana and cancer
While there is sparse hard research about how cannabis can treat or prevent cancer, the information that DOES exist is promising. At the very least, cannabis seems to help the side effects of cancer treatment, mainly nausea, weakness, and lack of appetite. Cannabis affects the endocannabinoid system, a group of receptors that go throughout your body and affect everything from mood to pain suppression and appetite. This natural system works with the compounds in cannabis, boosting the positive benefits you feel on a daily basis without knowing the ECS is there.
Though the potential benefits of cannabis use for cancer are very promising, there are some downsides to cannabis use.
Firstly, cannabis strengths can vary and the effects it has on people can as well. One person might need a fraction of the dosage of another person for the same effect, and until it’s regularly researched and regulated, you might not know what you need to be effective.
Cannabis also impairs motor function and thinking, which is fine if you’re not going anywhere and can simply relax. For those who want to use cannabis to treat their cancer symptoms AND be productive, that’s a hurdle that will require some research as well. Finally, for people who smoke cannabis, they’re still inhaling toxic and damaging compounds, and while edibles are considered safer, they might not affect everyone the same way (or at all).
Though you might say “simply remove the THC”, there is something called the entourage effect that suggests that the benefits of cannabis are strongest when CBD, THC, and the terpenes in the plant all work together. Additionally, there are many other compounds besides THC and CBD that exist in cannabis, and simply focusing on a single one might be missing the forest for the trees.
Benefits of legalization and broader research
With sweeping legalization at the federal level, more funding can be allocated to research. More funding means more bright minds looking into the benefits of cannabis, and that means a brighter future for people who have chronic conditions that cannabis can treat.
Additionally, imagine a world in which you aren’t stigmatized for using cannabis to treat various conditions. Largely regarded as safe, cannabis might have the potential to treat a wide range of conditions, but ignorance and cultural stigma make widespread usage frowned upon in many areas. Legalization, research, and broad use can destroy that stigma and bring medicine into the 21st century.
The future of cannabis
As legalization spreads and cannabis becomes more widely accepted, Dabs Labs seeks to be at the forefront of providing safe, effective concentrates. We understand the need for well-researched, regulated, and accurate dosage, and will continually strive to provide the highest quality cannabis extracts and products. Check out our website and see what we can provide to you as we move forward into a future with safe, effective cannabis treatments and recreational items.