Can Cannabis Help Treat Leukemia?
Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects white blood cells. These are cells that are responsible for immune defense. Both THC and CBD have been shown to kill leukemia cells in vitro. Luckily, there is CBD Lietuvoje (CBD in Lithuania) to help patients in treating this illness.
Cannabis continues to amaze the world with its medical efficiency. While more and more studies document the broad spectrum of potential, perhaps the most significant area where cannabis could be helpful is the treatment of cancer. In vivo and in vitro studies have shown that cannabinoids can kill multiple types of cancer cells. One of these cancers where cannabis has great potential is leukemia.
WHAT IS LEUKEMIA?
Leukemia is defined as a form of cancer that affects blood cells. We all learned about the different types of blood cells in biology class. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients through the bloodstream to tissues. White blood cells, on the other hand, are part of the immune system and are responsible for defending against infections. Leukemia mainly affects white blood cells.
White blood cells are also called leukocytes. The makeup only about 1% of the blood and still play a fundamental role. Under normal conditions, they play a key role in the immune system by literally eating and destroying pathogens and producing antibodies and antitoxins to fight pathogens and neutralize their toxins.
White blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and stored in the lymphatic system and blood. There are numerous types of white blood cells. Monocytes have a longer lifespan than most and help defend against bacteria. Lymphocytes produce antibodies that protect against invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Neutrophils are the most common form of a white blood cell. They eat invading bacteria and fungi. Basophils secrete chemicals that contribute to the immune system. Last but not least, there are eosinophils, which attack and kill parasites and cancer cells.
In the case of leukemia, the white blood cells behave abnormally and lose their effect. Affected cells can begin to affect important organs after a certain number. In addition, they start cell division too early, which leads to too high a number.
THE CAUSES OF LEUKEMIA
Leukemia can develop either rapidly (acutely) or fairly slowly (chronic). There are several forms of this disease, including acute myelogenic leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenic leukemia, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Risk factors for the development of the disease are, for example, cases of leukemia in the family, smoking, genetic diseases, blood diseases, radioactivity, and chemicals such as benzene. The exact cause of leukemia is still unknown. People with this condition have been found to have abnormal chromosomes, but these are not the cause.
Symptoms of leukemia include excessive sweating, fatigue, weakness, pain in the bones, swollen lymph nodes, the tendency to bleed, fever, and frequent infections.
When it comes to acute myeloid leukemia, 80% of patients younger than 60 are in remission after the first round of their chemotherapy. However, this condition causes approximately 10,000 deaths annually in the U.S. alone.
In addition to chemotherapy, there are other conventional treatments for leukemia such as radiation therapy, stem cell transplantation, biological and immunotherapy, and targeted cancer therapy.
CANNABIS AS A POTENTIAL FUTURE TREATMENT
Cannabinoids are a class of chemicals found in the cannabis plant. The best known are CBD and the psychoactive substance THC. To date, over 100 cannabinoids have been identified, many of which have medicinal potential.
Under scientific conditions, cannabinoids have been shown to be effective against a variety of cancers. THC was shown to kill and damage cancer cells in the liver, with CBD showing promising effects on breast cancer cells. The healthy tissue was omitted.
Early laboratory studies claim that cannabinoids have the ability to kill leukemia cells and that the effect could be even more effective in conjunction with chemotherapy. Researchers from the University of London published an article in the “Journal of Oncology” documenting the studies of the effects of different cannabinoids in combination with chemotherapy on leukemia cells.
The researchers found that THC and CBD, when used separately, were both capable of killing leukemia cells. However, when they were used in combination, the effect of the respective substance multiplied. The researchers also discovered that chemotherapy followed by cannabinoids led to better results in the fight against leukemia cells.
While cannabinoids help tackle leukemia at the root, they can also alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. As in all areas regarding the potential of cannabis, further studies are needed to uncover the full spectrum of effects in the treatment of leukemia and other cancers. Although we are still at the beginning, cannabinoids are already showing some interesting effects that could cause changes in cancer therapy in the future.