How Medical Marijuana Works in Cancer Prevention


How Medical Marijuana Works in Cancer Prevention

*As previously published by Dr. Mary Clifton at CBD and Cannabis Info

It’s time to talk about the fascinating interaction between medical marijuana and cancer cells. In fact, we’ve known for over 3,000 YEARS that marijuana seems to have an effect on cancer cell growth, although it hasn’t been until recently that the first real research came about.

In the 1970’s a study was done on mice with lung adenocarcinoma (a cancer that forms in the mucous glands of the lungs), where scientists used medical marijuana to inhibit cancer growth. Those very happy and fortunate mice who were included saw reductions in tumor growth as well as an increase in their life span.

Although this was an animal study, it did demonstrate to the scientific community that medical marijuana may have a place in the treatment of cancer. The question the scientific community needed to answer next was: Precisely how did cannabis help the mice to inhibit cellular growth of their cancer?



There are cannabinoid receptors that cover your entire body, but they are most commonly found in the brain and other organs (CBD1 receptors), and in the immune system, particularly in greatest density, in the spleen (CBD2 receptors). These receptors respond to three types of stimulation:

  • Endogenous cannabinoids, which are found in the body.
  • Plant-derived cannabinoids, such as medical marijuana.
  • Synthetic cannabinoids, which are manufactured in medical labs across the world.

All of these biological, plant-based, and synthetic options stimulate the receptors to accelerate the immune response, helping to combat cancer. Two of the key traits of cancer are:

  • Unregulated cell growth
  • The inability for cell death to occur

These both occur through damage to the DNA, resulting in cancer. Medical marijuana appears to reduce cell growth, or cellular proliferation, by inhibiting the cyclic AMP protein kinase, which results in an activation in enzymatic systems that are very involved in the transfer of energy within the cells, as well as the management of cellular growth (MAPKS and PA13K Akt systems).

Cannabis works by increasing cell death, achieved by stimulating ceramide synthesis, which upregulates P8 and moves the cell into a persistent cell cycle at the G1 phase of growth, limiting the cell’s ability to grow, as well as helping it die quicker. Through this decrease in cellular proliferation, and an increase in cellular death, medical marijuana appears to have a beneficial effect on reducing the cancer burden in patients who are suffering from the disease.

Cannabis is a wonderful tool in the journey to conquer cancer and help patients live a longer, happier life (plus it helps decrease nausea and increase appetite!)

If you’d like to watch the video from Dr. Mary Clifton on this subject, you can click HERE

About the author:

Dr. Mary Clifton is an Internal Medicine doctor in New York City, with 20 years of experience in both the hospital and private practice and is also a licensed by the New York State Department of Health to provide medical marijuana and is a recognized expert in CBD, Cannabis, and Medical Marijuana. You can find her at


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