Marijuana has been considered as a medical aide to cancer patients for a very long time. It is proven to help people fight through the terrible side effects of chemotherapy and there have even been conflicting reports on whether or not marijuana can actually kill cancer cells. In a study recently published in the International Journal of Oncology, it was found that the combination of certain cannabinoids and chemotherapy drugs increases the success of the chemotherapy drugs on leukemia cells.
WHO CONDUCTED THIS STUDY
Researchers from St. George’s University in London, England, tested multiple different pairings of cannabinoids and chemotherapy drugs on leukemia cells in a laboratory. They tested different timeframes of administration, amounts of medicine given, and mixes of cannabinoids and chemotherapy drugs to see exactly what was most effective.
THE STUDY’S RESULTS
The study determined many groundbreaking pieces of information. It determined that the potency of the anti-leukemia chemotherapy drugs was increased when cannabinoids were given after the chemotherapy drugs. The distinction was made by the researchers that the cannabinoids were to be administered only after the chemotherapy drugs had been, and not before. The study states: “the sequence of drug administration is crucial to the success of these triple combinations and should be considered when planning such treatments.”
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Chemotherapy is known for its debilitating side effects, such as: fatigue, hair loss, infection, appetite loss and weight change. These side effects are due to the toxic nature of the drugs. The drugs are used to kill cancer cells, yet they tend to affect healthy cells as well. The most important find from this study, is the fact that by treating cancer with both chemotherapy drugs and cannabinoids, the amount of chemotherapy drugs needed to produce the same effect is significantly lower. This is important because the smaller amount of toxic chemicals entering the body of an already weekend patient the better.
The medical uses of marijuana are many in number, and varying in degree of success. While we are still at the early stages of proving marijuana’s efficacy into treating cancer, this new study does prove that marijuana can kill leukemia cells while also lessening the negative effects of chemotherapy drugs.