Can Cannabis Cure Cancer?

Marijuana has many pleasing effects, but could curing cancer be another?

It’ll be no surprise to those of you reading this that a seemingly random object has been linked to curing cancer. The Daily Mail has a reputation for making rather tenuous links to a long list of products that either prevent or cause cancer, but we’re talking about curing cancer, that is killing cancer cells and keeping the patient cancer-free for five years.

So, who thinks that it can cure cancer? Well, in short, not many people that actually knows what they’re talking about. Lincoln Horsley, creator of www.cureyourowncancer.org seems to think the herb has more of a divine purpose than many others would think, claiming that “Cannabis is a plant that GOD has placed on earth for us to use.” They’re not the only group that sees the spiritual potential in marijuana, as The Sisters of the Valley are a group of nuns that have turned to cultivating cannabis in order to ‘heal the world’.

It’s only prescribed use in Britain is for reducing muscle spasms in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Cannabis oil is believed to be the most potent cannabis product, and is therefore believed to be the key to curing cancer, alongside a host of other diseases and disorders. However, it’s only prescribed use in Britain is for reducing muscle spasms in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Horsley’s website cites Dr Cristina Sánchez as one of many high-profile researchers who claims that the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, most common cannabinoid, or psychoactive compound, found in cannabis) has anti-tumour effects. Sánchez has built on the work of Raphael Mechoulam, the so-called “grandfather of medical marijuana” for his role in the discovery of THC, and got the ball rolling on the medicinal uses of cannabis.

“Cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory.”

From there, there has been slow progress. However, in 2015 the National Cancer Institute in the US updated their website to state “cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory”, and already cannabis has been seen to help paediatric oncology cases, as well as being more regularly used to reduce side effects of cancer treatments.

However, there is widespread uncertainty about it still, with most seeming to agree that more research is needed. Quite fittingly, Oxford University announced earlier this year they are set to invest £10bn into an “area of huge untapped potential”; the exploration of the potential benefits of cannabis compounds in an attempt to create new treatments for conditions including pain, cancer and inflammatory diseases.

Despite all this, cannabis is inconclusively considered to be a carcinogenic, so may well cause cancer as well as ‘cure’ it. So, the answer to the question ‘can cannabis cure cancer?’ is ‘maybe, but it might also give you cancer’.

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