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Marijuana and Cancer

Marijuana is the name given to the dried buds and leaves of varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, which can grow wild in warm and tropical climates throughout the world and be cultivated commercially. It goes by many names, including pot, grass, cannabis, weed, hemp, hash, marihuana, ganja, and dozens of others.

Marijuana has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. Scientists have identified many biologically active components in marijuana. These are called cannabinoids. The two best studied components are the chemicals delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (often referred to as THC), and cannabidiol (CBD). Other cannabinoids are being studied.

At this time, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists marijuana and its cannabinoids as Schedule I controlled substances. This means that they cannot legally be prescribed, possessed, or sold under federal law. Whole or crude marijuana (including marijuana oil or hemp oil) is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any medical use. But the use of marijuana to treat some medical conditions is legal under state laws in many states.

Dronabinol, a pharmaceutical form of THC, and a man-made cannabinoid drug called nabilone are approved by the FDA to treat some conditions.

Marijuana

Different compounds in marijuana have different actions in the human body. For example, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) seems to cause the “high” reported by marijuana users, and also can help relieve pain and nausea, reduce inflammation, and can act as an antioxidant. Cannabidiol (CBD) can help treat seizures, can reduce anxiety and paranoia, and can counteract the “high” caused by THC.

Different cultivars (strains or types) and even different crops of marijuana plants can have varying amounts of these and other active compounds. This means that marijuana can have different effects based on the strain used.

The effects of marijuana also vary depending on how marijuana compounds enter the body. The most common ways to use marijuana are in food (edible marijuana) and by smoking or vaping it (inhaled marijuana):

  • Edible marijuana: When taken by mouth, such as when it’s used in cooking oils, drinks (beer, tea, vodka, soda), baked goods (biscuits, brownies, cookies), and candy, the THC is absorbed poorly and can take hours to be absorbed. Once it’s absorbed, it’s processed by the liver, which produces a second psychoactive compound (a substance that acts on the brain and changes mood or consciousness) that affects the brain differently than THC. It’s important to know that the amount of THC in foods that have had marijuana added to them is often unknown and getting to much THC might cause symptoms of overdose.
  • Inhaled marijuana: When marijuana is smoked or vaporized, THC enters the bloodstream and goes to the brain quickly. The second psychoactive compound is produced in small amounts, and so has less effect. The effects of inhaled marijuana fade faster than marijuana taken by mouth.

How can marijuana affect symptoms of cancer?

A number of small studies of smoked marijuana found that it can be helpful in treating nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy.

A few studies have found that inhaled (smoked or vaporized) marijuana can be helpful treatment of neuropathic pain (pain caused by damaged nerves).

Smoked marijuana has also helped improve food intake in HIV patients in studies.

There are no studies in people of the effects of marijuana oil or hemp oil.

Studies have long shown that people who took marijuana extracts in clinical trials tended to need less pain medicine.

More recently, scientists reported that THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells growing in lab dishes. Some animal studies also suggest certain cannabinoids may slow growth and reduce spread of some forms of cancer.

There have been some early clinical trials of cannabinoids in treating cancer in humans and more studies are planned. While the studies so far have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in treating cancer, they do not show that they help control or cure the disease.

Relying on marijuana alone as treatment while avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences.

Possible harms of marijuana

Marijuana can also pose some harms to users. While the most common effect of marijuana is a feeling of euphoria (“high”), it also can lower the user’s control over movement, cause disorientation, and sometimes cause unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety and paranoia.

Smoked marijuana delivers THC and other cannabinoids to the body, but it also delivers harmful substances to users and those close by, including many of the same substances found in tobacco smoke.

Because marijuana plants come in different strains with different levels of active compounds, it can make each user’s experience very hard to predict. The effects can also differ based on how deeply and for how long the user inhales. Likewise, the effects of ingesting marijuana orally can vary between people. Also, some chronic users can develop an unhealthy dependence on marijuana.

Cannabinoid drugs

There are 2 chemically pure drugs based on marijuana compounds that have been approved in the US for medical use.

  • Dronabinol (Marinol®) is a gelatin capsule containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that’s approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy as well as weight loss and poor appetite in patients with AIDS.
  • Nabilone (Cesamet®) is a synthetic cannabinoid that acts much like THC. It can be taken by mouth to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy when other drugs have not worked.

Nabiximols is a cannabinoid drug still under study in the US. It’s a mouth spray made up of a whole-plant extract with THC and cannabidiol (CBD) in an almost one to one mix. It’s available in Canada and parts of Europe to treat pain linked to cancer, as well as muscle spasms and pain from multiple sclerosis (MS). It’s not approved in the US at this time, but it’s being tested in clinical trials to see if it can help a number of conditions.

How can cannabinoid drugs affect symptoms of cancer?

Based on a number of studies, dronabinol can be helpful for reducing nausea and vomiting linked to chemotherapy.

Dronabinol has also been found to help improve food intake and prevent weight loss in patients with HIV. In studies of cancer patients, though, it wasn’t better than placebo or another drug (megestrol acetate).

Nabiximols has shown promise for helping people with cancer pain that’s unrelieved by strong pain medicines, but it hasn’t been found to be helpful in every study done. Research is still being done on this drug.

Side effects of cannabinoid drugs

Like many other drugs, the prescription cannabinoids, dronabinol and nabilone, can cause side effects and complications.

Some people have trouble with increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure (especially when standing up), dizziness or lightheadedness, and fainting. These drugs can cause drowsiness as well as mood changes or a feeling of being “high” that some people find uncomfortable. They can also worsen depression, mania, or other mental illness. Some patients taking nabilone in studies reported hallucinations. The drugs may increase some effects of sedatives, sleeping pills, or alcohol, such as sleepiness and poor coordination. Patients have also reported problems with dry mouth and trouble with recent memory.

Older patients may have more problems with side effects and are usually started on lower doses.

People who have had emotional illnesses, paranoia, or hallucinations may find their symptoms are worse when taking cannabinoid drugs.

Talk to your doctor about what you should expect when taking one of these drugs. It’s a good idea to have someone with you when you first start taking one of these drugs and after any dose changes.

What does the American Cancer Society say about the use of marijuana in people with cancer?

The American Cancer Society supports the need for more scientific research on cannabinoids for cancer patients, and recognizes the need for better and more effective therapies that can overcome the often debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment. The Society also believes that the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance by the US Drug Enforcement Administration imposes numerous conditions on researchers and deters scientific study of cannabinoids. Federal officials should examine options consistent with federal law for enabling more scientific study on marijuana.

Medical decisions about pain and symptom management should be made between the patient and his or her doctor, balancing evidence of benefit and harm to the patient, the patient’s preferences and values, and any laws and regulations that may apply.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Society’s advocacy affiliate, has not taken a position on legalization of marijuana for medical purposes because of the need for more scientific research on marijuana’s potential benefits and harms. However, ACS CAN opposes the smoking or vaping of marijuana and other cannabinoids in public places because the carcinogens in marijuana smoke pose numerous health hazards to the patient and others in the patient’s presence.

Learn how marijuana and drugs derived from the marijuana plant can affect cancer-related symptoms.

Can Cannabis Treat Skin Cancer?

The potential for new research and treatments in treating diseases is expanding thanks to the global adoption of marijuana for medical use.

As more countries open the doors to the use and investigation of cannabis, medical applications of the drug are set to be expanded as the drug has already showed promise.

Currently the promise outpaces any medically confirmed results or applications for cannabis treating skin cancer patients.

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While marijuana and skin cancer have not been effectively paired up for a proper treatment, the cannabis plant may offer more options for patients once more clinical trials and research are confirmed.

While there may be individual cases claiming to credit the drug, cannabis and its derivatives are not being applied for the treatment of skin cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, accounting for over five million cases per year. This category holds many different variations, however the main three types are basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and melanomas; the rest are considered rare.

Melanomas develop in specific areas like the neck and face and can be more serious than their counterparts. Basal and squamous cancer cells, on the other hand, are developed based on a person’s sun exposure and mostly develop in the head and neck.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, treatments of non-melanoma skin cancer include: surgery, radiation therapy, photodynamic therapy and drug therapy including the use of topicals.

Cannabis and cancer could be paired up as more research across the globe begins to take place, looking for new medications and formulations, boosted by the early successes of the drug.

While researching is still lacking in the overall medical marijuana space, serious improvements such as GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH) obtaining an approval in the US for its CBD solution treating seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome in toddlers.

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After going through its clinical trials, the company’s “Epidiolex” drug approval from the US Food and Drug Administration signalled how top medical agencies were ready to confirm the medical prowess of cannabis and its derivatives for the benefit of patients.

The National Eczema Association vouched for CBD as an option in the treatment of eczema, a skin disease that affects over 30 million people in the US.

“It has long been observed that cannabinoids possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-itch qualities,” The Independent reported.

A study from the the University of Colorado School of Medicine is looking further into the ability of CBD for patients with psoriasis or eczema who have tried using topical steroids or topical immunomodulators.

Robert Dellavalle, professor of dermatology with the University of Colorado, told Inside Science CBD products are growing in popularity but the results are not being collected as properly as it could be.

“I believe it’s a wide-open horizon with tremendous potential that needs to be investigated, but there are a number of regulatory hurdles that need to be overcome and that’s where we are,” he said of his study.

A medical study from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus showed that the anti-inflammatory sensibilities of cannabinoids are the main reason why they may be a potent agent in combating skin diseases.

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As part of its guide for health care practitioners, Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) indicated medical cannabis could aid patients with inflammatory skin diseases such as dermatitis, psoriasis and pruritus.

“And while this research is still relatively formative, the results achieved so far clearly indicate its value and the promising potential of cannabis as effective medicine,” Tilray wrote.

Dave Berg, chief technology officer for software company Strainprint told the Investing News Network the lack of sophisticated research has had an impact on the development of novel therapies for patients using cannabis.

“[I]t’s been very difficult for people to study cannabis in a clinical way, but there’s been a ton observational data… There’s no really strong observational data set that allows us to make proper decisions,” Berg said.

In an effort to raise the research options for cannabis, the Canadian federal government announced it would spend C$10 million over five years to the Mental Health Commission in order to assess the impact of cannabis use on the mental health of Canadians.

The government also promised C$10 million given to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction for research purposes.

Skin treatment, either cosmetic or medical has been one of the many sectors revitalized with new cannabis oil products gaining popularity.

These cannabis oil products are developed based on the non psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, cannabidiol (CBD).

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The introduction of a cosmetics with cannabis elements, supported by Canadian licensed producers is another upcoming element for the skin treatment segment of consumers, and while not medical it does offer more options to the uses of cannabis.

The endorsement from consumers for CBD ointments or other topicals for skin care has been documented with multiple product launched in the fractured US cannabis market.

The increased popularity of these products has led to a rise in the type of claims made by these items in the prevention and upkeep of skin conditions.

A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association found CBD products were often were mislabeled online.

Investor takeaway

In order for skin cancer patients to see the potential benefits from treatments with medical cannabis, a lot still has to change in Canada and abroad.

As the medical and recreational sections of the cannabis space continue drifting apart thanks to legalization efforts, the medical space should obtain more time to properly research and investigate the applications of the drug.

The early position CBD has gained in terms of skin maintenance and treatment could lead to further research on its impact with a more serious disease.

The approval for GW Pharmaceuticals and the increased awareness of the medical benefits for cannabis is moving the needle for how much more research will be put to find out how capable the drug will be in the medical space.

INNdepth

Want more details? Check out these articles for more INNdepth coverage.

Want an overview of investing in cannabis stocks? Check Investing in the Cannabis Industry

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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

Cannabis experts and market analysts offered valuable insight and 2020 forecasts for the quickly evolving cannabis sector

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Trulieve Selected and Approved as Medical Cannabis Licensee in West Virginia, Enters 6th State

Leading national cannabis company selected and approved for a processor permit in West Virginia by the Office of Medical Cannabis

Trulieve Cannabis Corp . (CSE: TRUL) (OTCQX: TCNNF), a leading and top-performing cannabis company in the United States and the largest cannabis company in Florida announced today that it has been awarded a processor permit by the West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis. The selection now gives the multi-state operator a presence in six states.

Trulieve’s mission has always been to provide the highest level of cannabis products and customer experience through authentic and reciprocal relationships with its customers and patients. This selection further supports that mission by introducing new patient populations to the Trulieve brand and offering relief they can rely on through the company’s safe, quality products.

“We want to thank the Office of Medical Cannabis for their comprehensive and thoughtful approach during this process, and we look forward to building a positive relationship with the state of West Virginia ,” said Kim Rivers , CEO of Trulieve. “We are truly excited to be entering a sixth state. As a processor, we look forward to bringing our Trulieve brand to West Virginia through wholesale opportunities, partnering with other companies to bring their products to market in the state, and executing on our strategic vision to be the leading customer-focused cannabis brand in the United States , with depth in the markets we choose to operate in. Our plan is to be operational as soon as possible to provide access to the patients in West Virginia .”

Trulieve is committed to investing in the communities it operates in and will further this commitment by working with well-regarded local businesses during construction and operation. Trulieve expects to be operational in the state within the next six months.

About Trulieve

Trulieve is a vertically integrated “seed-to-sale” company and is the first and largest fully licensed medical cannabis company in the State of Florida . Trulieve cultivates and produces all of its products in-house and distributes those products to Trulieve-branded stores (dispensaries) throughout the State of Florida , as well as directly to patients via home delivery. Trulieve also operates in California , Massachusetts , Connecticut and Pennsylvania . Trulieve is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol TRUL and trades on the OTCQX Best Market under the symbol TCNNF.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy nor shall there be any sale of any of the securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful. The securities have not been and will not be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “U.S. Securities Act”), or the securities laws of any state of the United States and may not be offered or sold within the United States (as defined in Regulation S under the U.S. Securities Act) unless registered under the U.S. Securities Act and applicable state securities laws or pursuant to an exemption from such registration requirements.

To learn more about Trulieve, visit www.Trulieve.com .

The Canadian Securities Exchange has not reviewed, approved or disapproved the ‎content of this news release.‎

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release includes forward-looking information and statements, which may include, but are not limited to, information and statements regarding or inferring the future business, operations, financial performance, prospects, and other plans, intentions, expectations, estimates, and beliefs of the Company and statements with regard to the Report and the Company’s response thereto. Words such as “expects”, “continue”, “will”, “anticipates” and “intends” or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s current projections and expectations about future events and financial trends that management believes might affect its financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs, and on certain assumptions and analysis made by the Company in light of the experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments and other factors management believes are appropriate. Forward-looking information and statements involve and are subject to assumptions and known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause actual events, results, performance, or achievements of the Company to be materially different from future events, results, performance, and achievements expressed or implied by forward-looking information and statements herein. Although the Company believes that any forward-looking information and statements herein are reasonable, in light of the use of assumptions and the significant risks and uncertainties inherent in such information and statements, there can be no assurance that any such forward-looking information and statements will prove to be accurate, and accordingly readers are advised to rely on their own evaluation of such risks and uncertainties and should not place undue reliance upon such forward-looking information and statements. Any forward-looking information and statements herein are made as of the date hereof, and except as required by applicable laws, the Company assumes no obligation and disclaims any intention to update or revise any forward-looking information and statements herein or to update the reasons that actual events or results could or do differ from those projected in any forward looking information and statements herein, whether as a result of new information, future events or results, or otherwise, except as required by applicable laws.

SOURCE Trulieve Cannabis Corp.

News Provided by Canada Newswire via QuoteMedia

Can cannabis treat skin cancer? Thanks to a legalization boom across the globe, more companies and researchers think it’s a possibility.