Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, meaning about one in six deaths is attributed to the disease. As of 2018, 17 new million cases of cancer were diagnosed globally, according to Cancer Research UK. There are more than 100 types of cancer that affect every part of the body, with the most prevalent globally being lung cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. It’s caused by abnormal cells that grow out of control and form a mass, known as a tumor. (Some cancers, like leukemia, don’t form tumors.) Cancerous tumors are malignant, whereas lumps that aren’t made of cancer cells are benign. The abnormal cells can also travel to other parts of the body — this is called metastasizing.
Doctors diagnose cancer at different stages based on the size of the cancer, and whether and how far the cancer has spread. Stages 1 and 2 are considered early, while stages 3 and 4 are advanced. They’ll then recommend treatments based on the diagnosis. Typically, patients will undergo some combination of chemotherapy (chemo), radiation, and surgery. Both chemo and radiation kill cancer cells or slow their growth, while surgery attempts to remove some or all of the cancerous tissue.
Based on anecdotal evidence and research, cannabis can be incredibly helpful for easing cancer symptoms, and possibly for treating cancer itself. In one study published in the 2006 British Journal of Pharmocology, THC was shown to reduce the production of tumor cells in every person who participated. cannabisMD will keep you informed on the promising potential of the cannabis plant as a treatment for cancer.