Cannabis: A Weapon Against Prostate Cancer?

Medical marijuana is slowly becoming accepted as a treatment for prostate cancer.

It’s scary to think about prostate cancer because we are at more risk.

Prostate cancer is so prevalent.

It’s estimated that 1 in 39 men will die of it. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer. And 31,620 men will die from it.

The figures are astounding. Prostate cancer is now the third leading cause of death.

It’s not long before it will be as deadly as lung cancer and colon cancer. The chances of successful treatment are higher if it’s detected early. But this is not easy. Symptoms of prostate cancer are difficult to identify.

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Conventional medicine is not a cure

What makes prostate cancer a serious concern? It’s prevalent in men once they hit 40.

Sadly, conventional medicine does not hold an absolute cure. Medications and prostate surgery are made to improve the condition of patients but may have side effects and unexpected consequences to consider with your doctor

We can only hope that medications shrink prostate tumor cells. But it depends mainly on tumor growth and how aggressive the cancer is.

Medications also come with adverse effects. That is why doctors need to assess their patients’ health carefully.

If you’re not exploring other natural ways of treating cancer, you’re pretty much limited to conventional medicine.

We have probably heard about their side effects. They are often the last choice in patients who cannot find significant improvement elsewhere, but they are still dangerous and doctors need to ponder many options and procedures to give the best options to their patients

A brief history of cannabis

Cannabis is only now emerging into the mainstream as a promising alternative for treating prostate cancer. But the truth is that it’s been a popular medicinal supplement for almost 10,000 years.

The use of hemp, a variety of the Cannabis sativa species, was first identified in pottery at ancient village site dating back over 10,000 years in the area of modern-day Taiwan.

Finding hemp use and cultivation in this date range puts it as one of the first and oldest known human agriculture crops.

In ancient China, they used the cannabis plant, seeds, and oil as food. Its first recorded use as medicine was made in the year 2737BC.

It has had a variety of uses over thousands of years for almost every culture we have records of. And in the mid-19th century, medical interest in the use of cannabis began to grow.

An Irish physician is credited with introducing it to Western civilization through his research into therapeutic cannabis, which was published in English medical journals.

It was not until the 1930s that marijuana was banned and criminalized in the US. Testifying on behalf of the American Medical Association, one doctor told Congress that “The American Medical Association knows of no evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug.”

He warned that prohibition “loses sight of the fact that future investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for Cannabis.”Congress ignored his comments.

For the rest of the 20th century, the so-called “War On Drugs” advanced. Marijuana has unfortunately been caught up in this war and, as a result, medical research into its possible benefits has suffered.

It’s only now that the curtains are pulling back. Times are changing.

Emerging research on cannabis use

There is substantial evidence on the anti-cancer properties of cannabis. A 2014 study claims that cannabinoids have a direct anti-proliferative effect on tumors of different origins.

These findings are very significant. Because unlike conventional drugs, cannabis directly targets tumor cells.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s prostate cancer or any other type of cancer. Cannabis specifically targets cancer cells.

Studies show they inhibit the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. It also prevents cancer cells from invading other healthy cells.

Cannabis researcher Ines Diaz-Laviada also supports the idea. She claims that cannabinoids in marijuana communicate with prostate cancer cells. These chemicals can stop cell division and growth.

She recommends further research to develop marijuana as an anti-cancer drug.

Another study analyzed the effects of cannabinoids (CBD) on prostate cancer. These chemicals are not related to THC, the component that makes one “high” with marijuana.

The researchers found that CBD was effective in killing prostate carcinoma. It also prevented its growth and spread. They also found that the chemicals in cannabis enhance each other’s cancer-killing properties.

Furthermore, in some instances, cannabis has been found effective for cancer-related pain. There is evidence suggesting that medical cannabis reduces chronic or neuropathic pain in advanced cancer patients.

Five studies that evaluated THC oil capsules, THC: CBD oromucosal spray (nabiximols), or THC oromucosal sprays found some evidence of cancer pain reduction associated with these therapies.

How does cannabis affect prostate cancer?

So, we know that cannabis may have cancer-killing properties, but the question is how?

Experts from the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical in cannabis, can stop the spread of cancer.

This substance decreases the level of Id-1, a gene that is highly expressed in cancer cells. The team started the research with breast cancer. In subsequent tests, they found that CBD works with many kinds of aggressive cancers, including brain and prostate cancers.

After treatment with CBD, the cells had decreased Id-1 levels and appeared to be less aggressive. What’s even better is that CBD is a non-toxic way to prevent cancer from spreading.

Clinical studies also show that cancer cells have a greater affinity to cannabinoids than normal cells.  In general, the cells become less viable and more prone to apoptosis (cancer cell death), and androgen receptor activity on the cancer cell surfaces decreased.

Two cannabinoids, THC and CBD, discourage the formation of tumor blood vessels (angiogenesis) needed by prostate cancer tumors to nourish themselves.

THC vs. CBD: What’s the difference?

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two natural compounds found in cannabis plants. CBD is found in extractions from the hemp plant, while THC is the main psychoactive compound that makes you experience a high.

It is usually consumed by smoking marijuana. It’s also available in oils, edibles, tinctures, capsules, and more. THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB receptors) in the brain.

The effects of THC produce a high or sense of euphoria.  There have been many debates about whether cannabis should be legalized and medical cannabis containing high levels of THC has been made legal in some states. A Doctor needs to prescribe it.

CBD helps with other various conditions, such as:

  • Seizures

  • Pain and inflammation

  • Psychosis or mental disorders

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Migraines

  • Depression and anxiety

THC helps with conditions such as:

  • Chronic pain  

  • Neuropathic pain  

  • Cancer pain  

  • Muscle spasticity  

  • Multiple sclerosis  

  • Glaucoma  

  • Insomnia  

  • Nausea  

  • Anxiety

Testimonials

Is cannabis effective for prostate cancer? Many people already claim that it’s effective. They have been successful in using marijuana or hemp oil to manage their prostate cancer.

Paul Morrissey, a cancer patient from St. John, Newfoundland, claims that cannabis cured him. He was already in the advanced stage. And the cancer spread to other parts of his body.

After taking hemp oil, he says that it makes him feel 20 years younger. The cancer regressed in his lymph nodes and abdomen. Moreover, his PSA levels improved dramatically.

Dennis Hill, a Ph.D. biochemist, is another case. He claims that he beat his prostate cancer with cannabis oil.

He worked as a cancer researcher at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Imagine his surprise when he learned he had prostate cancer too. It was already advanced, at stage 3. He was anxious because his usual medications aren’t working as expected.

He then began taking cannabis butter that he acquired from a colleague. Then, it turns out that primary cancer disappeared in just three months!

The metastatic lesions removed entirely after another three months. Nowadays, he’s just taking a maintenance dose with 30% potency. He was finally able to manage his prostate cancer effectively.

Conclusion

There is solid evidence that cannabis is an effective weapon against prostate cancer and could be used in prostate cancer treatment.

However, the number of studies regarding its impact on prostate cancer remains limited and could benefit from further clinical trials on the long-term effects.

This is because cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug, and for the foreseeable future, it will remain that way. Personally, I look forward to its development as a potent and more widely accepted medicine in the future.

*Updated on April 2019 to reflect the latest figures published by the American Cancer Society.

Have you considered trying marijuana for medicinal purposes? If so, share your story with us below and let us know what you think.

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Sources

  1. Blake, A, Wan, B, Malek, L. (2017). A selective review of medical cannabis in cancer pain management. Annals of Palliative Medicine. 6 (2), 0.
  2. De Petrocellis L, Ligresti A, Schiano Moriello A, et al. Non-THC cannabinoids inhibit prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms. Br J Pharmacol. 2013;168(1):79–102. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.02027.x
  3. McAllister SD, Murase R, Christian RT, et al. Pathways mediating the effects of cannabidiol on the reduction of breast cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis [published correction appears in Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 May;133(1):401-4]. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2010;129(1):37–47. doi:10.1007/s10549-010-1177-4
  4. Ramos J, Bianco F. The role of cannabinoids in prostate cancer: basic science perspective and potential clinical applications. Indian J Urol. 2012 Jan-Mar;28(1):9-14.
  5. Sarfaraz S, Afaq F, Adhami VM, Malik A, Mukhtar H. Cannabinoid receptor agonist-induced apoptosis of human prostate cancer cells LNCaP proceeds through sustained activation of ERK1/2 leading to G1 cell cycle arrest. J Biol Chem. 2006 Dec 22;281(51):39480-91.
  6. Śledziński P, Zeyland J, Słomski R, Nowak A. The current state and future perspectives of cannabinoids in cancer biology [published correction appears in Cancer Med. 2018 Nov;7(11):5859]. Cancer Med. 2018;7(3):765–775. doi:10.1002/cam4.1312
  7. Velasco, L, Ruiz, L, Sánchez, M, DíazLaviada, I. (2001). Δ9Tetrahydrocannabinol increases nerve growth factor production by prostate PC3 cells Involvement of CB1 cannabinoid receptor and Raf1. The FEBS Journal European Journal of Biochemistry. 268 (3), p531-535.https://medicalmarijuana.co.uk/former-cancer-researcher-chooses-cannabis-over-chemotherapy-cures-his-prostate-cancer/

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