Cannabigerol, Making Food Appetizing for Cancer Patients

For all of the states that initially passed medical cannabis legislation, cancer was not only an approved condition but also a major data point supporting such legislation. Specifically, cancer patients, forced to undergo exhausting chemotherapy treatments, lose appetite. This drastic, prolonged loss of appetite, similar to anorexia, decreases body weight and in turn, decreases overall health. Cannabis has long been observed to increase appetite in humans (we’ve written several Cornerstone blog posts on the “munchies”), with the most active ingredient identified as THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. Unfortunately, not all patients enjoy or can tolerate this psychoactivity. Originally, this posed a serious downside to treatment with cannabis. However, with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, researchers realized that the effects of THC might be achieved, without psychoactivity, via other cannabinoids. Additionally, research has confirmed that cannabis containing no THC can still restore appetite. In line with this thinking, one paper, published last month in the medical research journal, Psychopharmacology, tested a molecule known as cannabigerol (CBG) on rodents to observe changes in feeding patterns. Readers may be surprised to learn that cannabigerol, unlike many other cannabinoids, found mostly in the resin of medicinal plants, exists in higher concentrations in plain hemp. Most medicinal strains, in fact, have concentrations lower than 1%. CBG also binds to the CB1 receptor at a much lower rate than THC and may even serve to temporarily disable the receptor. However, CBG has also been shown to be a 5-HT1A receptor agonist and an alpha2-adrenergic…

Cannabis and Carcinoma Part II

Today we’re revisiting a topic: the use of the endocannabinoid system as a possible therapeutic target for cancer treatment. Last time, we discussed the ability of some cannabinoid molecules to trigger cell death in cancerous cells. In that article we were careful to note that those results did not necessarily equate to a cancer solution and more testing would need to be conducted. Since then, cancer research has continued to be a focal point of the endocannabinoid research community, so we’re pleased to be able to further the discussion. The leading cause of global cancer death is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCC is the most common type of liver cancer and usually brought on by other illness or stress, such as viral infection or alcoholism. The survival rate is generally poor, as by the time tumors are noticed, they are generally too big to remove. In fact, liver transplant is usually the most effective approach. Unfortunately, livers have a waiting list and most cases of HCC occur in undeveloped countries where some sort of solution is desperately needed. At this point in time, researchers are testing all sorts of new chemicals and processes. Endocannabinoids, with receptors all along the immune system, represent a unique approach to a solution In earlier studies, the chemical WIN55,212-2 (WIN55), a synthetic cannabinoid which produces effects similar to the THC found in cannabis, has been shown to cause cell cycle arrest in the cancer cell line BEL7402 (carcinoma cells). Like THC, WIN55 actives CB1 receptors. Researchers…

How Cannabis Might Be Used to Target Melanoma

After years of negative propaganda from uninformed politicians, it is tempting to jump at evidence indicating cannabis could miraculously cure cancer. In fact, even well educated members of the cannabis community may tout this point as a reason for legalization. This mistake is understandable; the person may have read a report showing cannabinoids capable of killing tumor cells. The problem is that saying “CANNABIS CURES CANCER” without additional information is like saying, “MONEY CURES POVERTY”. Either statement could technically be argued to be true, but both statements are such reductive, simplistic views that they are entirely misleading on their own and actually very unhelpful to genuine progress. The truth is that smoking cannabis or using topical cannabis extract almost certainly has no impact on preventing or curing cancer. Where the real progress is happening involving cannabis and cancer actually rests in the consideration of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system as a chemotherapy target. Currently, many different types of drugs are used as chemotherapy agents. Unfortunately, a lot of these drugs also exhibit friendly fire and kill non-cancerous cells or deplete other body resources to the extent that the process of chemotherapy is arduous and difficult for the patient. As a result, doctors must carefully aim to give patients as much chemotherapy as they can safely accommodate and no more. The eCB system and cannabinoids show promise as new chemo drugs, because they exhibit anti-tumor properties while at the same time are very gentle and natural to the human body. Currently, many…

Exploring Cannabis’ Relationship to Lung Cancer

The trajectory of every medical cannabis patient is unique. Some patients think of themselves as life-long recreational users until they realize that they’ve been subconsciously using the plant to help treat genuine health conditions. This may be the case for individuals that deal with chronic pain or psychological stress. Others, however, are surprised to find themselves using cannabis at all. For these individuals, finding solace and peace in a substance that is widely perceived as recreational might very well be the last resort. This patient may have gone through years of frustrating dead-end pharmaceutical treatments or thrust into an adverse situation through cancer treatment. Regardless, many of these patients are non-smokers and the consumption of cannabis poses a significant problem. The vaporizers we have reviewed offer an elegant solution to non-smokers, but the basic issue remains: patients are inhaling warm plant matter into lungs that were not designed for the process. This, of course, raises questions about lung cancer and is one of the reasons doctors are hesitant to show support for the medical cannabis movement. Here at Cornerstone, we are advocates for health and for whatever treatment works for the patient, whether that involves cannabis, a more traditional pathway, or a holistic median. From the relative wealth of studies currently available we have no reason to believe that vaporized cannabis plays a role in the development of lung cancer. Despite often having more tar than an equal volume of tobacco (which is almost completely removed in a vapor sample…

Breast Cancer and Cannabis Treatment

One of the earliest and most widely adopted avenues for the medical community accepting cannabis treatment has come in the area of symptom treatment for cancer patients. Chemotherapy and radiation both force patients through a harrowing process with many of its own side effects. Although chemotherapy has made advances to make treatment more bearable in recent years, cannabis has proven itself surprisingly effective in treating symptoms. Between helping to stimulate appetite, relieving chronic pain and dizziness, and helping anxiety, tens of thousand of patients have benefitted from symptom relief via cannabis use as a natural medicine. However, many studies have shown independently that beyond symptoms, cannabis may actually be capable of treating some forms of cancer. In this article, we’ll dig into the evidence pertaining to breast cancer, a very common and aggressive form. Breast cancer, as with all forms of cancer, occurs when cells are duplicating too aggressively. Although there are around 20 variations, most result in tumors forming in the breast tissue which can then spread to other areas of the body and begin to shut down normal operation. Likelihood for developing cancer depends on both genetic variables and lifestyle, but specific risk factors include age, obesity, and high levels of certain hormones. Abnormally high amounts of hormones not only increase the likelihood of developing cancer, but they also increase the rate that the cancer progresses at. As such, breast cancer patients and survivors are often encouraged not to take additional hormones when considering birth control or menopause…