Many women are wondering if medical cannabis is a good treatment for breast cancer. This could be a desperate plea to heal themselves naturally. Breast cancer is not a single disease, according to the HER2 Support Group. It is an umbrella term that is used for many different diseases. HER2-positive breast cancer is an aggressive type that forms when there is an over-production of the HER2 gene.
HER2 Breast Cancer and Medical Cannabis Potential
A woman with HER2 Breast Cancer has tested positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). This encourages the development of cancer cells. HER2-positive breast cancer grows rapidly. It is also often associated with an unfortunate prognosis and high recurrence rates. Successful treatments have been designed to target the HER2 gene. But research shows that they do not result in a positive response from everyone.
Cannabis Therapy is aware that medical cannabis has shown potential to treat a variety of cancers. A Japanese study found cannabinoids to constrain tumour growth. Accordingly, breast cancer research has also turned to medical cannabis in search of answers. Many women want to know whether medical cannabis can cure breast cancer.
Spanish Researchers Treated Breast Cancer with Medical Cannabis
A group of Spanish researchers published a study in the journal Molecular Cancer in 2010. Their aim was to establish whether cannabinoids could constitute a new therapeutic tool in the fight against HER2-positive breast cancer. They analyzed the anti-tumour potential of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and a synthetic cannabinoid with similar effects to CBD (cannabidiol).
The researchers investigated the effects on mice with a similar form of cancer, in order to analyze every cannabinoid’s potential. The researchers also examined the effects of cannabis on 87 human breast tumours.
The study found that THC and CBD had several anti-cancer benefits in mice. Both cannabinoids investigated were found to:
- constrain cancer growth,
- reduce the number of tumours
- reduce the number and the severity of metastases (secondary tumours in the lungs).
The researchers found that cannabinoids may constrain cell proliferation and induce programmed cell death, or aptosis. They were studying human cancer tissue. They stated that cannabinoids also seem to “impair tumour angiogenesis” which allows tumours to receive more nutrients by letting blood vessels grow.
Breast Cancer Research For Medical Cannabis
The study made an important discovery: that 91% of HER2-positive tumours actively express CB2 receptors. Both THC and CBD interact with CB2 receptors which might explain their positive impacts on breast cancer.
Additional research will be necessary before we can determine whether medical cannabis is an effective form of breast cancer treatment. The results from this Spanish study are intriguing. Cannabis is currently used to counter nausea and other chemotherapy side effects. Evidence of its anti-cancer potential is becoming more evident. Medical cannabis may replace chemotherapy as an effective follow-up to surgery, if scientifically proven to treat HER2-positive breast cancer.
Cannabis Therapy is not yet ready to answer the question, “Can medical cannabis cure breast cancer?”. The signs are there. More research is needed before we can actively state that medical cannabis can replace chemotherapy as an effective follow-up to surgery.