Cancer and cannabis. The risk of the new activism of some celebrities

The words of Olivia Newton-John’s husband extolling his work in the fight against cancer from plant medicine have given rise to talk of this type of therapy without questioning its validity. “His healing inspiration for her and her pioneering experience with plant medicine continue with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to plant medicine and cancer research,” he wrote. John Easterling in a statement after the death of the actress, on August 8.

The protagonist of ‘Grease’ relied on products derived from cannabis and a vegan diet to treat the breast cancer with metastases. In addition, she became involved in the cultivation and research of therapeutic marijuana, a business that is continued by both her husband and her daughter, Chloe. She has not been the only advocate of its medicinal use. Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, He turned to plant medicine to try to cure his cancer, which he ended up regretting at the end of his life.

Other names

According to his biographer, Walter Isaacson, Jobs he regretted rejecting conventional medicine and the surgery. Instead, she opted for a combination of a vegan diet, herbs, and spiritual practices, delaying the start of treatment that actually could have saved her life by nine months. When he changed his mind, the cancer had spread to surrounding tissues.

The actor Tommy Chong has stated that cannabidiol (CBD) oil has been key in his recovery from prostate cancer. Also the rock singer Melissa Etheridge she used it to calm her anxiety and restore her appetite during chemotherapy treatment and has now become a cannabis political activist.

The cannabidiol is a chemical found in marijuana and does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient that produces a high. It is prescribed as an anti-seizure medication, but more research is still needed to determine other benefits and its safety.

Singer Melissa Etheridge, activist in favor of cannabis.

Singer Melissa Etheridge, activist in favor of cannabis.gtres

In Spain, the actor Daniel Rovira He has admitted that he consumed THC to alleviate the effects of the treatment he underwent for six months to cure Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Tetrahydrocannabinol was, despite its psychoactive effects, his balm against the nausea, vomiting and pain that radiotherapy sessions and chemotherapy left him with.

The situation in the world

The problem with this new activism promoted by celebrities and their passion for nature, based on its ancient use, is that it leads many patients to abandon conventional medicine and pharmacological resources scientifically backed to cure or stop tumors. For this reason, there is a growing interest in seriously studying and specifying the usefulness of medicinal cannabis in certain medical cases. In some countries it is legal for certain medical uses and, in general, the laws that regulate it are being liberalized.

in our country, Congress has endorsed the regulation of medical cannabis for certain types of ailments such as cancer pain, some forms of epilepsy or endometriosis, always with a prescription and pharmaceutical dispensing. It also opens the door to other therapeutic indications “when the studies provide consistent indications.”

In any case, the prescription will be carried out exclusively by health professionals. The report ‘Monograph. Cannabis 2022’, recently presented by the Spanish Observatory of Drugs and Addictions, highlights that it is the illegal substance most consumed by Spaniards for both recreational and medicinal purposes.

What is known of its therapeutic potential?

A pilot study at the University of Melbourne has found that cannabidiol reduces by almost half the symptoms of chronic anxiety in young people, so it could be a successful treatment option in cases of resistance to other therapies. As for its use in oncological health, it is gaining popularity as a complementary remedy in pain control.

Breast cancer patients cite certain benefits, but There is no conclusive research or evidence that cannabis can cure cancer. It could be effective in relieving some discomfort, anxiety, stress, insomnia, vomiting and nausea or other symptoms of chemotherapy, although long-term trials evaluating the real benefits and safety of the treatment are lacking, according to a published study in the journal Frontiers in Pain Research.

Its main author, David Meiri, a professor at the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel, indicates that an analysis of data on patients treated with cancer has revealed that, after six months of treatment with medical cannabis, the use of opioids and other pain relievers was reduced. In his opinion, it is necessary to give continuity to this type of study to specify its level of effectiveness.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two drugs -nabilone and dronabinol- based on cannabis to treat the symptoms of cancer, but warns that they do not cure the disease. In the case of children, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not even endorse the use of cannabis to relieve symptoms in cancer patients because its effect on brain development is unknown.

no scientific basis

The explosion of news and studies on the substances that make up the plant, how they affect our body and brain and what drugs could originate from these compounds could lead some people to death. naive belief that we are facing the miraculous cure for cancer. Much information is fraudulent and others without sufficient weight. Some findings in the laboratory with animals arouse much enthusiasm, but they have not been able to be extrapolated to human patients.

From the Canna Foundation, dedicated to the study and research of the cannabis plant and its active ingredients and their effects on the human mind and body, they also warn of the risk of coming into contact with unwanted substances such as toxins, microorganisms and other types of pollutants, especially “in an environment where no minimum level of safety or quality is required for cannabis or derivative products”.

Faced with the speed with which ideas are spread that are given the character of irrefutable truth, researchers lament how difficult it is to ask for the calm that the scientific method requires based on in-depth investigations, controls and comparisons before reaching a conclusion. definitive.

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