Medical cannabis is often recommended as a way to treat the side effects of cancer treatments, such as nausea, fatigue, and pain. However, there has been resistance and lack of research connecting the actual treatment of cancer to medical marijuana.
One of the reasons smoking cannabis has been resisted as a treatment is that ingesting anything into your lungs may damage it. However, studies indicate that ingesting cannabis may correlate with lower rates of one specific type of cancer.
Of all the cancers diagnosed in the United States each year, about 5% are cancers of the bladder. Unfortunately, it also claims over 16,000 lives annually.
The Urinary System & Bladder Cancer
The bladder is a part of the urinary system, which also includes the kidneys, renal pelvis, ureters, and urethra.
As blood flows through the body, it is filtered by the kidneys. The waste product created by the filtering process is urine, which is stored in the bladder until it can be expelled.
The bladder is a hollow, balloon-shaped organ in the lower part of the abdomen. It has a muscular wall that expands or contracts in order to store the urine produced by the kidneys.
Bladder cancer occurs when malignant cancer cells form in the tissue lining of the bladder. There are three types of bladder cancer: Transitional Cell Carcinoma, Low-Grade Transitional Cell Carcinoma, and High-Grade Transitional Cell Carcinoma.
The most significant risk factor involved in the appearance of bladder cancer is genetic history – as with many diseases – cigarette smoking dramatically increases the risk, as does aging. Tobacco smokers and non-smokers alike, however, have experienced lower rates of bladder cancer if they also ingest cannabis.
In 2013, Dr. Anil Thomas and his team from the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center presented their findings regarding bladder cancer and cannabis use to the American Urological Association conference. The results of their work showed that individuals who used cannabis in some form were 45% less likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than patients who never used the substance. The medical professionals did not assert that marijuana smoking prevents bladder cancer. However, the research opened the door to ask the question about the efficacy of marijuana in treating disease. While there was a clear correlation, further research was required.
In 2017, Scientific Reports published a study that reported that the cannabinoid system played a role in bladder cancer becoming malignant. Results indicated that cannabinoids lessened the tumor’s growth.
Of course, natural homeopaths have long contended that cannabis can cleanse and detoxify the body, flushing out the harmful elements and protecting the good. Medical cannabis has also been proven to have positive effects when dealing with anxiety, inflammation, nausea, and a host of other ailments.
Although more research is still needed, studies are pointing to the fact that cannabis may also play a role in the actual treatment of cancer. As medical cannabis becomes more mainstream in the medical community, we expect to see more studies and research on this topic. If indeed cannabis is one day proven to reduce cancer risk, this will be a huge step forward in our understanding of how to effectively treat the disease.
If you are living with a disease or illness and would like to learn more about using medical cannabis as a possible treatment, call Neurology of Cannabis in Sarasota.
Click here to read more about the Florida list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis.