Medical cannabis for gastric cancer

Can Medical Cannabis Help Gastric Cancer?5 min read

A gastric cancer diagnosis can come as a distressing surprise. However, treatment is available, and many patients go on to live happy, healthy lives. Some achieve their ideal outcome through traditional oncology and therapies like chemotherapy and radiation, while others look to alternative treatment options.

Ongoing research is shedding light on the potential of these unconventional treatments to slow, stop, and kill gastric cancer and other cancers. One such natural treatment is cannabis, a plant native to Central and South Asia with a long history of medicinal applications.

Gastric Cancer: An Overview

Gastric cancer – also known as stomach cancer – is cancer that forms in the lining of the stomach and is the fifth most common cancer and the third most common cause of cancer death worldwide.

The stomach is formed of five layers of tissue. The innermost layer of the stomach is called the mucosa, where gastric cancer begins. It then spreads through each successive layer, starting with the submucosa, then the muscle, the subserosa, and finally the serosa. In addition, gastric cancer can be classified according to where the disease has developed. Classifications include gastric antrum cancer and gastric cardia cancer.

Conventional treatments and therapies for gastric cancer include chemotherapy and surgery. However, these do not always meet clinical needs. Some gastric cancer cells are chemo-resistant, and half of the patients who have surgery report tumor recurrence. For these reasons, patients who have a gastric cancer diagnosis may seek alternative treatment pathways, one of which is cannabis.

How Does Cannabis Interact with Cancer?

Cannabis may have potential as a treatment for gastric cancer. It works on several levels to kill cancerous cells and alleviate the pain associated with cancer and conventional therapies.

Cutting off blood supply

Cancer cells multiply because they create vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This compound allows cancer cells to build new blood vessels that supply them with the oxygen they need to survive. Cannabis has been shown to inhibit VEGF, which may stop the tumor’s growth.

Triggering cell death

Cannabis can induce cell death, a phenomenon called apoptosis. In a healthy body, cells automatically remove themselves when they become damaged or are unable to function correctly. However, cancer cells do not perform this vital function. Instead, they continue to multiply and grow. By triggering apoptosis, cannabis may slow or stop cancer growth.

Stopping metastasis

Metastasis happens when cancer cells break off a tumor, travel through the body, and settle in another area. When metastasis occurs, cancer becomes more difficult to treat. Research in laboratory and animal trials has shown that THC and CBD – the primary cannabinoids in cannabis – have properties that may prevent metastasis.

Easing symptoms

Chemotherapy and other conventional cancer treatments have long lists of adverse side effects, including fatigue, pain, and nausea. These side effects are often experienced in addition to the general symptoms of cancer. Altogether, patients may endure a significant loss in quality of life. However, cannabis may be an effective aid in easing cancer symptoms and its treatments.

Studies have shown that cannabis can help prevent or limit chemotherapy’s nausea and vomiting. Others have found that it can also lessen neuropathic pain caused by damaged nerves.

Who Can Benefit from Alternative Gastric Cancer Treatments?

A cancer diagnosis of any kind can bring up all sorts of feelings: anxiety, fear, anger, and confusion. Patients are faced with many decisions, some of which could significantly impact their health. Treatment options are one of these decisions, and some individuals choose to look to alternative and integrative medicine in lieu of or in addition to conventional therapies.

Conventional oncology is focused on killing or slowing cancer through force. It is not concerned with limiting the body’s toxicity, enhancing diet and nutrition, or regulating and strengthening the immune system. These fundamental elements of well-being are considered unessential, and the belief that drugs and medication alone are enough to cure a patient dominates in Western medicine.

In alternative oncology, however, individuals are viewed and treated holistically. That means the mind, body, and emotional and spiritual elements of a person are accounted for and addressed harmoniously. The goal is to restore the biological capabilities of the patient, particularly the immune system. For these reasons, almost any person living with cancer can benefit from alternative treatments.

Brio-Medical treats cancer patients with all types of cancer – gastric cancer included – at all stages of their journey. Some have undergone conventional oncology treatments, and others have not. The majority respond positively to leading-edge therapies and report improvements in their prognosis.

Determining how a specific individual will respond to alternative treatments such as cannabis is not always straightforward and depends on their overall health and lifestyle. Effectiveness can also be impacted by how suppressed the person’s immune system is from chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other toxic treatments.

Are You Living with Gastric Cancer?

It is never too late to explore the potential of cannabis and other alternative treatment pathways. You do have options, and you are in control of your health.

At Brio-Medical, we leverage integrative treatment protocols that unite conventional and alternative modalities to enhance the biological performance of each patient. Our approach is holistic, natural, and deeply individualized.

If you would like to find out more about your treatment option, please contact our patient care coordinators today. They are more than happy to answer your questions and address your concerns.

References:

Blázquez, Cristina et al. “Cannabinoids inhibit the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway in gliomas.” Cancer research vol. 64,16 (2004): 5617-23. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-03-3927

Chakravarti, Bandana et al. “Cannabinoids as therapeutic agents in cancer: current status and future implications.” Oncotarget vol. 5,15 (2014): 5852-72. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.2233

Kiyokawa, Takashi, and Takeo Fukagawa. “Recent trends from the results of clinical trials on gastric cancer surgery.” Cancer communications (London, England) vol. 39,1 11. 27 Mar. 2019, doi:10.1186/s40880-019-0360-1

Liu, Jun-Bao et al. “Chemo-resistant Gastric Cancer Associated Gene Expression Signature: Bioinformatics Analysis Based on Gene Expression Omnibus.” Anticancer research vol. 39,4 (2019): 1689-1698. doi:10.21873/anticanres.13274

Smyth, Elizabeth C et al. “Gastric cancer.” Lancet (London, England) vol. 396,10251 (2020): 635-648. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31288-5

Wang, Shiqi et al. “Postoperative complications and prognosis after radical gastrectomy for gastric cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.” World journal of surgical oncology vol. 17,1 52. 18 Mar. 2019, doi:10.1186/s12957-019-1593-9

Zhang, Xin et al. “Cannabidiol Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Cell Apoptosis in Human Gastric Cancer SGC-7901 Cells.” Biomolecules vol. 9,8 302. 25 Jul. 2019, doi:10.3390/biom9080302

 

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