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Can Cannabis Really Kill Cancer Cells?

There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Not all forms of cancer are terminal, but all wreak havoc on the body – especially during treatment of the disease. Cannabis has been used in Western medicine for centuries to treat inflammation, spasms, seizures and pain disorders. Can cannabis really kill cancer cells?

This article is going to take an in-depth look at the effects that cannabis has on cancer cells and answer the question of – can cannabis really kill cancer cells?


Cannabinoids (CBD) are commonly used to treat inflammation and pain. CBD strains are also ideal for treating nausea, in some cases, and seizure reduction/cessation. These are low-THC containing strains of marijuana that provide no psychological effects. The National Cancer Institute has included a Cannabis FAQ section that explains the history of cannabis for medicinal purposes, including information regarding the beginnings of cannabis prohibition.

Cannabinoid effects on the body have been studied, with results showing that some brain and nerve cells have been found in cannabinoid receptors. This information suggests that cannabinoids potentially aid the immune system.

In some parts of the world, such as Canada, cannabis extracts like delta-9-THC and CBD are combined to create medications to treat pain.

Animal Study Findings

Animal studies have been conducted to determine the effect of cannabis on tumor growth and tumor cells. Most of these studies were conducted on mice. It was found, in one study, that colon inflammation reduction was noticed when cannabinoids were present. This can reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Cannabinoids, a compound of cannabis, have been found to protect normal cells while attacking and killing cancer cells. When the blood flow is restricted to cancer cells, they become malnourished, so growth is either stunted or completely stopped. Tumor growth was noticeably decreased or stopped when cannabis was used to treat tumors.

Liver cancer reacts well to cannabis. Delta-9-THC was shown to kill cancer cells in liver cancer. It is also shown to kill cells in breast cancer cases and non-small cell lung cancer cases. For the purpose of determining the effects on breast cancer alone, CBDs were found to have a very small effect on normal breast cells, but caused cancer cell death in affected cells.

Chemotherapy Aid

Using CBD and other cannabis products while undergoing chemotherapy treatments can help your body accept the chemotherapy medications better, and can help prevent/relieve nausea following treatment. The ability of cannabidiol to help increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy often shows promising prognoses of remission or curing of cancer.

Cancer Cell Death

Doctor Peter McCormick, from the UEA School of Pharmacy said, “THC, the major active component of marijuana, has anti-cancer properties. This compound is known to act through a specific family of cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors.”

Studies to determine the main receptor responsible for anti-tumor effects have not been conducted to date. If these receptors were able to be identified, developing treatments to directly target tumor cells and stop growth/kill detrimental cells can advance.

The U.S. Department of Health National Cancer Institute has provided statements substantiating that delta-9-THC and CBDs are “useful in treating cancer and its side effects by smoking, eating in a baked product, drinking herbal teas, or even spraying it under the tongue.”

What happens when cannabis oil is injected right into cancer cells? The video below is a display of how cancer cells react to the introduction of cannabis oil. 

Receptor Binding

Receptors in the body, cannabinoid receptors, bind together to control and regulate multiple body functions. Once CBD is introduced to the body and binds with receptors, a “conversation” inside your body begins. The receptors communicate with the cancer cells, bind to them and essentially kill some types of cancer cells.

Cannabis Kills Some Types of Cancer

Cannabis has 21 known compounds, identified as cannabinoids. When CBDs enter the body, they work with the central nervous system and immune system to help kill negative cells (cancer cells) that affect the body in a detrimental way. The change, classified as a biochemical change, allows CBDs to manipulate the cancer cell and stop blood vessel formation.

Study Results

Several studies, conducted on animals, show that THC, CBD, CBN, THCV and other compounds in cannabis have anti-tumor effects. This means that cannabis, when ingested or directly infused into cancer cells or tumors can kill those cells and stop tumor growth. The benefit here is that normal cells in the body are left intact, and remain unharmed.

Closing Words

Medical evidence suggests that governmental health organizations, like the U.S. Department of Health, have known for decades that cannabis can help treat cancer and reduce cancer cell growth. The answers as to how and why weren’t answered until recently due to additional studies being permitted. Under the Obama administration, cannabis studies have been expanded – allowing for more in-depth information to be available proving dozens of medicinal benefits of cannabis.

Cancer patients may experience a longer quality of life, slowing the progression of their cancer or a completely clean bill of health showing no signs of cancer after using cannabis in combination with chemotherapy treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has openly admitted that cannabis does have medical benefits. Studies continue to be conducted, around the world, involving cannabis and multiple forms of cancer to determine a definite connection between cannabis and killing cancer cells in some types of cancer. Not all types of cancer have been studied, but many of the findings of the studies that have been conducted provide information to help develop a way to treat cancer cells directly and cure some cancers, prolong life expectancies and return quality of life during treatment.

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