The heterogeneity and complexity of cannabis extracts as antitumor agents
A recent study has exposed the complexity of cannabis extracts as antitumor agents depending on the exact cannabinoid composition and cancer cell line. Researchers utilized whole cannabis extracts, meaning that the extract contains various amounts of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids produced by the cannabis plant, and found that each extract had various effects depending on cannabinoid composition. It was also found that the antitumor effects were not completely due to ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as pure THC extracts did not provide the same effects as a whole plant extract. Some extracts were found to have antitumor effects on specific cancer cell lines but further research is needed to specify which ratio of cannabinoid and other chemicals provides the most benefits for each cell line.
Considering the difficulty of treating cannabis and the horrible side-effects associated with chemotherapy it seems shocking that cannabis-based medications are not more widely accepted for cancer treatments. As cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act the federal government can not provide any support for cannabis research which means that current research relies almost entirely on private funding. When examing the emotional and economic toll of cancer patients it seems irresponsible to not fully examine the possible benefits of cannabis-based medications to finally determine if they can provide more benefits than easing the side-effects of chemotherapy such as cachexia, chronic pain, and nausea.
The study is available for review or download here
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