Western culture has long demonized those who would consume cannabis for recreational purposes either via inhalation, vaporization, edibles, or other forms of consumption. This is mainly due to the euphoria and potential anxiety that the plant can cause. However, plants are becoming more and more potent day after day because of the improved breeding methods.
In any case, no matter how controversial the topic of recreational use, cannabis is here to stay.
Researchers are finally taking the study of cannabis seriously – a plant that’s been traditionally used in medicine for millennia. However, progress has been slow. Moreover, while cannabis is finally finding legal ways to make it onto actual store shelves in Canada, some parts of the USA, and a few specific regions of Europe, the rest of the world is still trying to understand the nature of this powerful plant. Deciding whether or not it’s the best time to follow the example of leading countries.
Statistical data is obviously an important detail of cannabis use, but the true reason why researchers are interested in cannabis is its potential to radically reshape the medical industry. The Epilepsy Foundation claims that cannabis “could potentially help control
seizures,” a statement backed up by years of research from scientists that took time to study what’s called Epidiolex – a purified CBD (short for cannabidiol, one of the compounds found in cannabis) extract from the cannabis plant.
Another important study dating back to 2015 has shown serious results in helping people with the treatment of chronic pain and other psychiatric problems that would majorly impact someone’s life, with neuropathic pain treatment representing a key focus.
With all of these positive messages regarding research, a few questions remain unresolved:
“Could cannabis ever be used to treat cancer? Is there truly a beneficial medical aspect to its chemical compounds? Moreover, if so, how do we employ them at scale?”
These are all questions that researchers have already gone through, and while there still is no clear answer to these daunting questions, progress – albeit slow – has been made. Two chemically pure drugs based on THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the main compound of cannabis) have been officially released ever since some small studies showed that the cannabinoid could help reduce the symptoms of cancer chemotherapy, treating nausea and vomiting.
Chemotherapy symptoms have been thoroughly studied from a cannabis perspective, but researchers couldn’t really gain much more in terms of data. They had to rely on what’s already been discovered due to the difficulty of extracting any relevant information from a plant that’s still technically illegal in most countries.
Yes, some small studies have tackled specific issues such as treating acute graft-versus-host disease (a disease caused when cells from a donated stem cell graft attack the normal tissue of the transplant patient) in cancer patients who have undergone allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (a procedure in which a person receives blood-forming stem cells from a genetically similar donor.) However, nothing truly tangible came out of the entire process, only suggesting the need for larger studies that would tackle a whole range of variables in cancer research.
Moreover, while researchers keep tackling practical questions regarding cannabis, the future of the plant as a medical powerhouse is still unknown, especially when it comes down to cancer treatment.
Even though we are still far from finding a cannabis-based treatment that could potentially revolutionize cancer treatment, people are increasingly interested in studying the plant and its effects based solely on the fact that it has proven to work in other areas of medicine, as previously stated.
In 2019, cannabis research will reach an all-time high, with countries like Canada and the USA investing heavily in trying to understand what this plant is truly capable of and how to apply its effects to the real world. Funding will continue to increase throughout the years as cannabis keeps growing and countries start getting interested in selling it as an off the shelf product.
Researchers around the world are eager to learn more about this powerful plant that seems to work wonders for the treatment of seizures and epilepsy, and while there’s still a lot to be discovered, the world of research remains hopeful that one-day cannabis-based drugs will be employed in a global setting.
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“Cannabis sativa L. is possibly one of the oldest plants cultivated by man, but has remained a source of controversy throughout its history. Whether pariah or panacea, this most versatile botanical has provided a mirror to medicine and has pointed the way in the last two decades toward a host of medical challenges from analgesia to weight loss through the discovery of its myriad biochemical attributes and the endocannabinoid system wherein many of its components operate…”
“Fifteen years ago, buying a bag of weed was like rolling the dice. Sometimes, the product was fire, other times, not so much. But with the help of legalization, cannabis has evolved over the last few decades at an incredible rate. Today, thousands of different strains line dispensary shelves each with their own unique terpene and cannabinoid profiles (and some pretty interesting strain names, too) carefully designed to elicit a variety of outcomes – from energetic to lethargic and everything in between. But where do these strains come from? And are they really as different as they make themselves out to be?…”
“Canada just became the second and largest country in the world to legalize weed nationwide. (Uruguay was the first.) Medical marijuana has been lawful in Canada since 2001, but prime minister Justin Trudeau’s successful campaign to open up recreational use is a landmark moment in the legalization movement..”
“To address certain knowledge gaps in this area, Bill Blair, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health, today announced an investment of $1.4 million in funding through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for 14 research projects from across Canada…”
“Medical marijuana is used to treat a host of indications, a few of which have evidence to support treatment with marijuana and many that do not. Physicians should educate patients about medical marijuana to ensure that it is used appropriately and that patients will benefit from its use.”
“At this time, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists marijuana and its cannabinoids as Schedule I controlled substances. This means that they cannot legally be prescribed, possessed, or sold under federal law. Whole or crude marijuana (including marijuana oil or hemp oil) is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any medical use. But the use of marijuana to treat some medical conditions is legal under state laws in many states…”
“One of the most exciting areas of current research in the cannabinoid field is the study of the potential application of these compounds as antitumoral drugs. Here, we describe the signaling pathway that mediates cannabinoid-induced apoptosis of tumor cells. By using a wide array of experimental approaches, we identify the stress-regulated protein p8 (also designated as candidate of metastasis 1) as an essential mediator of cannabinoid antitumoral action and show that p8 upregulation is dependent on de novo-synthesized ceramide. We also observe that p8 mediates its apoptotic effect via upregulation of the endoplasmic reticulum stress-related genes ATF-4, CHOP, and TRB3. Activation of this pathway may constitute a potential therapeutic strategy for inhibiting tumor growth.”
“Small studies on certain cancer types have been done suggesting a need for larger studies.
“As the medical cannabis industry separates itself from the recreational cannabis industry, patients are only seeing the beginning of what cannabis and its complex genetics can offer…”