Marijuana and Gastrointestinal Cancers:
What is Gastrointestinal cancer? Also known as GI cancer, it’s a group of cancers that wreak havoc on the digestive system. It’s currently the most common form of cancer today.
There are many types of GI Cancer affecting various parts of the digestive system. Thankfully, science is revealing that marijuana can help with them all. Read below to learn more.
The different types of gastrointestinal cancers
Anal, Bowel and Small Intestine Cancers
Colorectal cancer is another common name for bowel cancer. Within the body’s digestive system, the bowel is the part that connects the anus to the stomach. It consists of both the rectum and the large intestine (large colon).
The diseased growth that tends to develop within the large bowel is known as bowel cancer. Most of these cancers develop from polyps. These are small growths inside the rectum or colon. They resemble small cherries on their stalks or tiny spots on the lining of the bowel.
If these polyps are removed early, the chances of developing bowel cancer are greatly reduced. Colorectal cancer is one of the most common internal cancers. However, anal cancer and small intestine cancer are both relatively rare.
Cancer of the biliary tract is known as gallbladder cancer. In Western societies, this form of cancer is quite rare. But, it’s not uncommon at all in Asia-Pacific countries.
By the time most people are diagnosed with cancer of the biliary tract, the cancerous tumor is too big to be surgically removed. In other cases, it’s spread so much throughout other parts of the body, it’s simply too late to stop it from spreading any further.
Therefore, only about 10%-30% of all biliary tract cancer sufferers are eligible to try surgery as a possible cure for the disease. And, those who do opt for surgery have a very low survival rate. Only about 18.5% of people with cancer of the biliary tract survive up to five years.
NETs, GIST & Stomach Cancer
The stomach is responsible for receiving food and storing it as it’s delivered by the esophagus. Once broken down, the stomach, a muscular sack-like organ, passes it along to the small bowel. That’s where the nutrients are absorbed into the body’s bloodstream.
Most stomach cancers are rare diseases that develop in the mucosa-lining cells. These forms of cancers are called adenocarcinoma of the stomach. It can take years to notice symptoms of gastric cancer, also known as stomach cancer. It tends to develop slowly.
One of the bodies most important key organs in the liver. It’s responsible for producing bile. This is what breaks down food’s fats so the bowel can absorb the contents. The liver also helps to produce proteins and fats, which helps with the clotting of blood.
Glycogen is stored in the liver. It’s made out of sugars and helps to fuel the body. The liver is also responsible for helping process poisons, toxins, some medications, and alcohol so they can be removed from the body altogether.
The body’s esophagus acts as a pipe for food. It carries the food from the mouth down into the stomach. There are three main sections of the esophagus:
- Upper esophagus
- Middle esophagus
- Lower esophagus
Anywhere along the esophagus’ length, esophageal cancer can develop.
The esophagus wall contains glands which produce mucus. This mucus is what helps food easily slide down during swallowing. Glands can produce adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, producing cancer. In Western countries, cancers of the esophagus are the most common types.
Your pancreas is a lumpy, thin gland. It’s positioned between the spine and the stomach. The about 13-centimeter long gland is joined to the small bowels first part (the duodenum) by the pancreatic duct.
Two major roles are played by the pancreas within the body:
- Produce insulin – This is what controls how much sugar is in your blood
- Produce enzymes – This helps to digest your food
Pancreatic cancer starts within the pancreatic duct’s lining. From there, it spreads throughout the pancreas’ body, then travels on into the nerves and blood vessel surrounding the pancreas. This obstructs the duct of the bile. Cancer of the pancreas can be spread through the lymphatic system, bloodstream or other body parts.
Medical Studies on Marijuana and Gastrointestinal Cancers
Study 1: High-CBD Sativa Extract Inhibits Colon Carcinogenesis
Colon cancer has grown to become a major issue related to public health. Many cancer patients have been able to cope due to useful cannabis-based medicines and treatments. One Romano B et al. Phytomedicine (2014) study, investigates the effects of high-cannabidiol (CBD) containing standardized marijuana sativa extract (CBD BDS) on colorectal cancer cell production and in vivo models of colon cancer experimentations.
The production was also evaluated in healthy colonic cells and colorectal carcinoma (DLD-1 and HCT116) using MTT assay. Binding of CBD BDS was evaluated based on its ability to displace human cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors from [(3)H]CP55940.
CBD BDS effects were examined in vivo, on the tumors, polyps and preneoplastic lesions induced by azoxymethane (AOM), a carcinogenic agent, and in a xenograft model representing cancer of the colon in lab mice.
Scientists found the CBD and CBD BDS reduced cancer cell production in tumoral cells. However, it didn’t affect the healthy ones. The CBD BDS effects were counteracted by the receptor antagonists CB1 and CB2.
In antagonist manner that’s CB1-sensitive only, pure CBD helped reduce the production of cancer cells. CBD BDS was much more sympathetic in binding assays for both CB1 and CB2 receptors than pure CBD. Yet, in vivo, AOM-induced preneoplastic lesions, polyps, and tumor growth were all reduced in the colon cancer xenograft model using CBD BDS.
Study 2: CBG Inhibits Colon Carcinogenesis
Cannabigerol (CBG) is a cannabinoid that doesn’t get you high. It engages with specific targets that take part in carcinogenesis. Specifically, it:
- Blocks transient receptor potential (TRP) M8 (TRPM8) and 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1A (5-HT1A) receptors
- Activates TRPA1, TRPV1 and TRPV2 channels
- Inhibits endocannabinoids’ re-uptake
In a study conducted by Borrelli F et al. Carcinogenesis (2014), scientists
investigated colon tumourigenesis can be stopped with CBG. They evaluated colorectal cancer (CRC) cell growth using:
- 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazole-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide
- 3-amino-7-dimethylamino-2-methylphenazine hydrochloride assays
CBG’s in vivo antineoplastic effect was assessed in models of mice with colon cancer. The following was found:
- CRC cells expressed CB1, CB2, TRPM8, mRNA, 5-HT1A, TRPA1, TRPV1 and TRPV2
- CBG promoted stimulated production of ROS, reduced cell growth in CRC cells, upregulated CHOP mRNA and apoptosis
A CB2 receptor antagonist helped further increased activations of TRPA1, TRPV1 and TRPV2 channels. The effect CBG had on cell growth was completely independent of all of these channel activations. These effects were mimicked by other channel blockers, such as TRPM8. But, 5-HT1A did not mimic these effects.
TRPM8 silenced cells saw reductions in the CBG-affected cell growth and CHOP mRNA expression. Xenograft tumor growth was inhibited in vivo, along with the colon carcinogenesis that was chemically induced.
Conclusion: CBG slows the growth of colon cancer in vivo. It also inhibits colon cancer cell growth selectively, much like that of TRPM8 antagonists. Researches related to this study believe CBG should be used in the prevention and cure of colorectal cancer.
Study 3: Cannabis Use & Upper Aerodigestive Tract Cancers
In the past, some have suggested that cannabis may be a cancer-causing agent. But, these findings, according to researchers, have been very inconsistent. A population based controlled study was conducted, Hashibe M et al. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (2006). It studied the association between the risks of the upper aerodigestive tract and lung cancers in Los Angeles, CA and the use of marijuana.
The controlled study included:
- 1,212 people with cancer
- 1,040 people who were cancer-free
The cases were matched by neighborhoods, genders, and ages. Each person was quizzed using a standardized questionnaire. They used joint years to express cumulative cannabis use. In other words, smoking one joint each day was represented by 1 joint-year.
Subjects who used cannabis for 30 joint years, or more than 30 years, were associated positively with each type of cancer in the crude analysis. One exception is pharyngeal cancer. When adjusted for cigarette smoking and several other confounders, scientists observed no positive associations.
These are the estimates of the adjusted odds ratio for more than 60 joints per year versus 0 per year:
- Oral cancer = 0.56 vs 2.1
- Laryngeal cancer = 0.28 vs 2.5
- Lung cancer = 0.32 vs 1.2
These are the estimates of the adjusted odds ratio for more than 30 joints per year versus 0 per year:
- Pharyngeal cancer = 0.20 vs 1.6
- Esophageal cancer = 0.22 vs 1.3
Conclusion: These study results suggest that cannabis use, even with heavy use or long-term use, may not be as bad as they taught us to believe.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]