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Cannabinoids for Cancer Treatment: Progress and Promise

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

First, let's start with some basics regarding the Industrial Cannabis plant:

  • The Cannabis sativa plant (aka Industrial Hemp) contains more than 120 cannabinoids and over 500+ beneficial compounds used throughout modern pharmacological therapies.

  • With the exceptions of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD), comparatively little is known about the pharmacology of the less-abundant plant-derived (phyto) cannabinoids.

What we do know, and what has been reinforced by numerous Cannabis studies throughout the scientific communities, is that cannabinoids are therapeutic in the treatments of numerous ailments including but not limited to the following:

  • Cell Proliferation,

  • Inflammation,

  • Pain Abatement,

  • Appetite,

  • Anxiety-Modulating and

  • Numerous other areas of Human Health.

Misconceptions of Industrial Hemp / Industrial Cannabis: The unknowns of ∆9-THC. ∆9-THC can cause a mind altering psychedelic effect in high dosages, but generally speaking, an Industrial Hemp compliant product will have levels of ∆9-THC below 0.3 percent. At 0.3 percent, the levels are so low, that most people will not feel a mind altering effect - but, your body will let you know if the level is too high for you and you should pay attention to your body's reaction.

Industrial Cannabis (aka Hemp) is still viewed with negative stereotypes by many first time users due to its association with ∆9-THC, but ∆9-THC is an essential cannabinoid and has many therapeutic application in various treatments so I would suggest learning more about what you specific needs/wants are regarding treatment before you rule out ∆9-THC as a potential remedy or treatment.

  • If Industrial Hemp oil does contain up to 0.3 percent of ∆9-THC it's considered to be a "Full-Spectrum" oil profile,

  • If the ∆9-THC has been mitigated to "non-detectable" levels, it is considered to be a "Broad-Spectrum" oil profile

  • ∆9-THC, even at "non-detectable" levels will builds up over time in your body's fat tissue, and from there it will slowly spreads to the blood, so if you are being tested for ∆9-THC, be mindful that all Industrial Hemp products can put you at risk during a drug test by your employer.

  • CBD Isolate is 99.7% pure CBD Crystalline - meaning that its a molecule in its purest form and most likely void of other beneficial cannabinoids like ∆9-THC, CBG, CBD, etc.

At Becalmed we believe in the whole plant and utilize Full-Spectrum oil profiles when necessary, but we still carry non-detectable ∆9-THC products in our tincture lines for those that have concerns regarding ∆9-THC. We try to avoid CBD Isolate due to the interaction between harmful chemicals used to break down the molecular bonds of the plant and the cannabinoids - industrial chemicals should not be used in natural holistic therapeutic approaches, but this is our personal belief and should not reflect your course of treatment. So what are Cannabinoids and how exactly do they help your body? Cannabinoids are a class of pharmacologic compounds that offer applications as antitumor drugs, based on the ability to limit inflammation, cell proliferation, and cell survival. In particular, emerging evidence suggests that agonists of cannabinoid receptors expressed by tumor cells may offer a novel [new] strategy to treat cancer. Here, we will quickly discuss the exploration of potent, nontoxic, and non habit forming cannabinoids for cancer therapy, but first lets go over a few key items.

  1. Pharmacologic Compound - Generally speaking (and very much simplified) a pharmacologic compound has properties that hold a therapeutic value.

  2. ∆9-THC - often associated with the "high" behind marijuana, but is also strategic in the treatment of central neuropathic pain (often considered difficult to treat) but ∆9-THC is considered one of the most promising therapeutic agents in neuropathic pain abatement / treatment.

How do Cannabinoids help in the treatment of Cancer? When treating a cancerous cell, one of the many goals is to limit cell proliferation, or the splitting of that cell.

  • Cannabinoids are useful analgesic agents that accompany primary cancer treatments by preventing nausea, vomiting, and pain and by stimulating appetite and they have been shown to inhibit cell growth and to induce apoptosis (death of cells) in tumor cells.

Among the hundreds of constituents of cannabis sativa, ∆9-THC is just one of the active pharmacological compounds within the industrial hemp profile, other compounds like CBD, CBG and CBN are also beneficial compounds that have been intensively studied for their utility in treating diseases, chronic and acute pain, epilepsy, anxiety, and modulating appetite. Cannabis Sativa (Industrial Hemp) The plant Cannabis sativa L. has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years and is the most important source of phytocannabinoids in modern medicine.

We are born with an Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which consists of receptors, endogenous ligands (endocannabinoids) and metabolizing enzymes, and plays an important role in different physiological and pathological processes within our bodies. Phytocannabinoids interact with the components of ECS similar to that of an antihistamine during allergy season. The ECS is the lock and Cannabinoids are the keys that modulate the system in its entirety - thus the cannabinoids effect on the isolation of specific diseases, including cancer. How do Cannabinoids Help? In Cancer Patients, cannabinoids have primarily been used as a part of palliative care to:

  • alleviating pain,

  • relieving nausea

  • stimulating appetite

  • antitumor effects in various cancer types

It's important to first understand the anticancer effects of plant-derived cannabinoids, in order to help you to better understand their mechanisms of action and role in cancer treatment. In vitro and in vivo cancer models show that cannabinoids can effectively modulate tumor growth, however, the antitumor effects appear to be largely dependent on cancer type and drug dose/concentration - its been my experience with the thousands of clients that have used our products, that the "patient" employs a positive thought pattern that will assist in the body's homeostasis during treatment. Balance is key in any therapy, so stay positive. Treating disease with Cannabinoids! When looking to treat a disease such as cancer with cannabinoids, we must understand that cannabinoids can regulate essential cellular processes involved in the formation of cancers (aka tumorigenesis), cell proliferation and cell death. We must also look at the interactions between cannabinoids and our immune systems, which is crucial for improving on the development of novel therapeutic approaches in the treatment of cancer in patients. Since their discovery, cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands, significant advances have been made in studying the physiological function of the endocannabinoid system. The presence of cannabinoid receptors on cells of the immune system and anecdotal and historical evidence suggests that cannabis use has potent immuno-modulatory effects, and has led to research directed at understanding the function and role of these receptors within the context of immunological cellular function. Cannabinoids can modulate both the function and secretion of cytokines from immune cells. Therefore, cannabinoids may be considered for treatment of inflammatory disease. Your Medical Care Team and Their "Concerns" on Treating Disease with Cannabinoids So why hasn't your Oncologist been able to comfortably hold a conversation with you about the use of cannabinoid therapy in regards to your treatment? Unfortunately, legislative guidelines may not be aligned with the current scientific knowledge and we have to acknowledge that licensed and insured medical doctors are held to the standards set by those legislative bodies. I hope this finds each and every one of you well, please let us know if you would like to explore options regarding one of our products in the treatment of cancer - I trust that this information is seen as strictly engaging for the reader, and in no way suggests that I am a leading scientific mind in the treatment of cancer. ~ AARON FURMAN

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