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Derived from the Cannabis plant, scientifically known as Cannibis sativa, 'cannabis' or 'marijuana' is a drug used for medical or recreational purpose. If all goes well, cannabis may emerge as a potential medicine in fighting cancer and strengthening the immune system.
According to a new research, cannabis can strengthen the immune system and fight cancer, due to the presence of 'phytocannabinoids', that stop cancer cells from multiplying and spreading. The chemical works by blocking blood supply to tumours, thereby reducing the ability of the disease to survive chemotherapy.
After a review of more than 100 case studies, scientists at Rostock University Medical Centre, Germany, reported that Cannabis may fight cancer, but, the anti-cancer benefits of 'phytocannabinoids' need to be explored further. Few previous researches even confirmed that cannabis helped reduce the side-effects of cancer treatments such as nausea and sickness.
Cannabis Strengthens Immunity To Fight Tumours
Meanwhile, in a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, phytocannabinoids in Cannabis have shown to offer a positive stimulation to the brain, hormone system and the immune system to fight back tumours. These effects have been repeated in a wide range of studies and this confirms that cannabis, indeed, has considerable effect in boosting the immunity.
The data from previous researches have also shown that cannabinoids can impact and control the manner in which cancer develops resistance to chemotherapy.
Does Cannabis Help With Immune Functioning?
With increasing researches being carried out to prove more medical uses for cannabis, experts suggest that medical marijuana may be an effective treatment for several ailments, when used in conjunction with other medications, to decrease their side effects. For instance, when people with epilepsy, cancer, and HIV were administered cannabis to cope with their symptoms, it helped alleviate many common HIV/AIDS symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, depression, pain and anxiety. In fact, medical marijuana is considered an effective, non-addictive painkiller when used in cancer patients.
In an article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, there is plenty of evidence suggesting the ability of cannabis to treat HIV/AIDS symptoms. Furthermore, some recent studies have supported the findings that cannabis may improve immune functioning in people with HIV/AIDS.
A study published in the AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses scientific journal, it is said that THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), a chemical in cannabis, helps in higher production of CD4 and CD8 cells in animals. The CD4 and CD8 cells are lymphocytes that actually help in fighting the disease.
In another study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, it was discovered that cannabinoids in cannabis, prevents the HIV virus from infecting the cells of immune system. The study further revealed the cannabinoids helped with 60 per cent reduction in the infected cells.
Given its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), cannabis, at the cellular level, can have a large impact on strengthening the immune system. Two good examples for this are cancer and HIV, as both these diseases are associated with a decline in immune functioning.
Although these conditions are associated with suppressed immunity, pre-clinical research indicates that cannabis can actually strengthen immune response in these conditions. But, advanced trials are necessary to ascertain the fact.
It is difficult here to give a definite conclusion on whether cannabis boosts immunity. Although the research suggests that cannabis can modulate the immune system, the anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis may be unnecessary in case of a healthy person. Therefore, taking cannabis for the better or worse may be dependent on your individual situation.
Inflammation is the natural response of our body's immune system, and it is actually necessary for us to remain healthy. Chronic inflammation may, however, be damaging to health. Meanwhile, it is also said that people with depression, allergy, and asthma may benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of the herb.
Therefore, more investigation is now being carried out to find out when exactly cannabis may be beneficial for immune functioning, and when it is not. But, as far as early research on cancer and HIV/AIDS are concerned, there is more than enough evidence indicating the benefit of cannabis for immune strengthening.
Hence, if you plan to take cannabis as a way to fight a particular disease, it is important to talk to a doctor or an expert to check if your situation demands so and if the herb is really what you need.