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UPDATES TO NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE (NCI) CANNABIS AND CANNABINOIDS AS A COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE FOR PATIENTS FAQ PAGE

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently made news with their FAQ page update on cannabis and cannabinoids as a complementary & alternative medicine for patients. The new revisions and updates confirm what marijuana advocates have been saying for years. Some of the highlights from the NCI FAQ page on cannabis & cannabinoids:

  • The use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back to ancient times
  • Cannabis and cannabinoids have been studied in the laboratory and the clinic for relief of pain, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and loss of appetite
  • Cannabis and cannabinoids may have benefits in treating the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of cancer therapies. There is growing interest in treating children for symptoms such as nausea with Cannabis and cannabinoids, although studies are limited.
  • Two cannabinoids (dronabinol and nabilone) are drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention or treatment of chemotherapy -related nausea and vomiting
  • Cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory
  • Cannabis is not approved by the FDA for use as a cancer treatment

ASSOCIATION BETWEEN CANNABIS USE AND RISK OF BLADDER CANCER: RESULTS FROM THE CALIFORNIA MEN’S HEALTH STUDY

One study that is specifically mentioned in the NCI FAQ page is a California Men’s Health Study examining the connection between cannabis use and risk of bladder cancer.

A review of bladder cancer rates in Cannabis users and non-users was done in over 84,000 men who took part in the California Men’s Health Study. Over 16 years of follow-up and adjusting for age, race/ethnic group and body mass index (BMI), rates of bladder cancer were found to be 45% lower in Cannabis users than in men who did not report Cannabis use.

We took a closer look at the results of the California Men’s Health StudyAssociation Between Cannabis Use and Risk of Bladder Cancer” published in the Journal of Urology (April 2013 Volume 189, Issue 4, Supplement, Page e527).

More Weed Smoking Showed Less Risk for Bladder Cancer & May Help Neutralize Greater Risk from Tobacco Smoking

The results of the study, measured in “Hazard Ratios” (HR), show that “using tobacco only was associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer with a HR of 1.38, whereas cannabis use only was inversely associated” with HR of only .38.

Patients who used both tobacco and cannabis had a HR of 1.0, compared to the 1.38 noted previously for the tobacco only patients; the use of cannabis may have contributed to lower HR for patients using both tobacco and cannabis by neutralizing the harmful effects of tobacco.

The study also looked at the amount of marijuana used and concluded that “there appeared to be a dose-dependent relationship for those using cannabis 1-2 times (HR 0.89) up to patients with 500+ times cannabis usage (HR 0.29).” In other words, those who smoked more weed showed less risk for bladder cancer.

The table below lays out the results by usage groups. Note that the group with the lowest risk (lowest HR) was the one that reported 500+ times cannabis usage.

USAGEBLADDER CANCER HAZARD RATIO (lower is better)
Tobacco Only1.38
Tobacco & Cannabis1.0
Cannabis Only (Overall).38
Cannabis Only (Dose dependent: 1-2 times).89
Cannabis Only (Dose dependent: 500+ times).29

Conclusions – Risk for Bladder Cancer and Cannabis Use

The conclusion of the California Men’s Health StudyAssociation Between Cannabis Use and Risk of Bladder Cancer” is quoted below:

While a cause and effect relationship has not been established, cannabis use may be inversely associated with bladder cancer risk in this population.

In other words, using marijuana appears to lower your risk for bladder cancer.  And the more you smoke, the risk seems to get lower.

This is just another example of the medicinal benefits of cannabis and the clear differences from tobacco. Tobacco only users bladder cancer HR was 1.38 vs 0.29 for heavy cannabis only users; even tobacco users seem to benefit from using cannabis with HR of 1.0.

We spend billions and pump our bodies full of chemicals to vaccinate ourselves from diseases. Cannabis is appearing more and more like it is nature’s vaccine against certain cancers, many of which most likely come from all the chemicals that surrounds our lives.

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