These days, you’re more likely than ever to hear cannabis and cancer mentioned in the same breath. Cannabis is already recognized as a valuable palliative treatment for cancer due to its antiemetic and analgesic effects. Emerging research suggests that cannabis may offer curative benefits for cancer, too—cannabinoids present in the plant can prevent the proliferation of cancer cells, slow tumor growth, or even stimulate the death of cancer cells.
While the addition of cannabis to the cancer-fighting arsenal is a cause to celebrate, the complexities of cannabis and cancer interactions are still not fully understood. Scientists are still making sense of the role the endocannabinoid system plays in the development of cancer and whether certain cannabinoids may stimulate cancer cell proliferation.
Most critically, today, little is known about the connections between cancer, the immune system, and cannabis. A 2019 retrospective observational paper suggests that cannabis may be detrimental to cancer patients undergoing immunotherapy; nowadays, immunotherapy is a standard of care for many solid tumors.