8: Cannabis Compounds for


The research on cannabis and cancer dates back at least to 1974[c-1974]. Since then, human studies have repeatedly shown that a suitable combination of cannabis compounds and conventional methods such as chemo or radiation works better than either alone.

8.1 Cancer-Fighting Tasks

A bottom-up analysis of the research on cannabis and cancer identifies five different cancer-fighting tasks. These tasks are in addition to the well-known palliative task of cannabis in treating pain and nausea.

For example, one compound will inhibit invasion and metastasis, another turns off the ID1 oncogene, and a third kills cancer cells. How could they not be synergistic? These are examples of the entourage effect. Here are the five tasks.

  1. Killing Cancer Cells. This can happen in two different ways.

    1a. In apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death, cells self-destruct.
    1b. In necrosis, they are killed by some outside force.
  2. Stopping Cell Replication. This can also be done in a couple of ways.

    2a. Cell-cycle arrest prevents cells from reproducing.
    2b. Angiogenesis prevention stops a tumor from growing new blood vessels.
  3. Inhibiting Invasion and Metastasis. Tumors often try to evade defeat by creating new tumors in nearby locations (invasion) or distant locations (metastasis).
  4. Controlling Cytokines. Inflammatory cytokines promote cancer growth, so it helps to lower these cytokines. â®› MORE â®›

    A thorough review by Landskron et al. on how cytokines influence cancer concludes:

    ... In a chronic inflammatory process, cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-6 induce the generation of free radicals that can damage DNA, potentially causing mutations that lead to tumor initiation. Tumor growth is also favored by proinflammatory cytokines that stimulate cell proliferation and reduce apoptosis ... The invasive properties of tumors are ... enhanced by proinflammatory cytokines ... Proinflammatory cytokines also play an important role in angiogenesis and metastasis. In the latter, chemokines such as IL-8 have an important role in cell migration to other tissues[Landskron_2014].

    Although there has been much research on the role of inflammatory agents in cancer and on the ability of cannabis compounds to tamp down these inflammatory agents, much still remains to be done in putting everything together. As a result, the presentations for particular kinds of cancer identify the inflammatory cytokines involved but then just refer the reader to general techniques described in the Taming Inflammatory Cytokines


  5. Mutation Control.

    5a. Mutation deterrence prevents cancers from mutating into new treatment-resistant forms.
    5b. Genetic repair turns bad genes off and good genes on[Ling_2009].

Types of Cancer

Here are the cancers covered, listed in approximate order of decreasing death rate[c-death]. In each section, the presentation is organized along the lines of the above five tasks. Some of the less deadly  cancers are as yet not well addressed by existing cannabis research.

8.10  Lymphoma

8.11  Brain and nervous system

8.12  Stomach

8.13  Skin

8.14  Ovaries

8.15  Oral Cavity, Pharynx, and

8.16  Other organ systems:
         Thyroid, Gall Bladder, Bone,
         Neuroblastoma, Multiple
         Myeloma, Kidneys, Testicles,
         Thymus, Spleen

Rendered according to the Citations Online architecture

c-1974. Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids [in vitro studies]. Summary, article. A E Munson, L S Harris, M A Friedman, et al. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 1975 September.

c-death. Appendix A, Table 3 [in SEER Cancer Statistics Review (CSR) 1975-2015]. Statistical table. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. National Cancer Institute. Updated 2018 (archived).

Ling_2009. The multiple roles of Id-1 in cancer progression [review]. Abstract. Ling M, Wang X, Zhang X, Wong Y. Differentiation. Online 2009 November 19.

Landskron_2014. 7\. Conclusion [in Chronic Inflammation and Cytokines in the Tumor Microenvironment]. Concluding summary. Landskron G, De la Fuente M, Thuwajit P, et al. Journal of immunology research. 2014 May 13.