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Cannabis Use Linked to Lower Rates of Prostate Cancer, Study Shows


Cannabis each day keeps prostate cancer away: Prostate cancer (PC) prevalence was lower in both current and former cannabis users compared to non-users in a recent study.

Alternative medicines are needed. In the United States, one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime—the most common non-skin cancer form. For this reason, men are encouraged to get screened for PC before it’s too late.

The study, “Marijuana Use May Be Associated with Reduced Prevalence of Prostate Cancer: A National Survey on Drug Use and Health Study from United States of America,” was published in the May 2024 issue of Biomedicines. The research was conducted by co-authors Turab Mohammed, James Yu, Yong Qiao, Youngchul Kim, Eric Mortensen, Helen Swede, Zhao Wu, Jingsong Zhang.

NORML reports that researchers affiliated with the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida assessed the relationship between cannabis consumption and PC.

The study represents a nationally representative cohort of 2,503 participants. Investigators reported that subjects between the ages of 50 and 64 who identified as either current or former cannabis consumers possessed a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer diagnoses. 

For the data, researchers undertook a cross-sectional study using National Survey on Drug Use and Health data from 2002 to 2020. The independent variable was cannabis use status (current, former, never), while the dependent variable was self-reported PC (yes, no). 

The anticancer effects of cannabis have been explored for some time. Scientists suggested that this finding provides “biological support for the anti-cancer effects of the constituents of marijuana.” Numerous preclinical trials have documented the ability of cannabinoids to inhibit cancer cell growth. 

Researchers noted that PC prevalence was significantly lower in cannabis users and former uses compared to non-users.

“PC prevalence was lower among current marijuana users (46/145, 31.7%) and former users (323/1021, 31.6%) compared to non-users (534/1337, 39.9%, p

Over the course of the case study, the woman reported minor setbacks. But by the end of 2022, the woman reported a “complete resolution of her symptoms” and she went back to full-time work.

Cannabis’s Potential in Cancer Treatment

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced grant funds in 2022 to researchers who are studying cannabis treatment for cancer.

A “Notice of Special Interest” (NOSI) (entitled “Basic Mechanisms of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Action in Cancer”) was posted on May 5 by NIH’s National Cancer Institute, with the intent “to promote research in understanding the mechanisms by which cannabis and cannabinoids affect cancer biology, cancer interception, cancer treatment and resistance, and management of cancer symptoms.”

In the notice, NIH explains that the reasoning behind this effort is due to the growing number of cancer patients seeking relief with medical cannabis, but that there are not enough studies to verify its effectiveness. “Cancer patients use cannabis and cannabinoids to manage symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment including anorexia, nausea, and pain,” the NOSI states. “Recent survey evidence suggests that a quarter of cancer patients have used cannabis for symptom management. Despite the increase in cannabis and cannabinoid use, research about their health effects, including potential harms and benefits, remain limited.” 

The report also briefly defines the activity of various cannabinoid receptors in the human body through animal models and cancer cell lines. “Cancer cell line experiments show that THC and CBD can mediate many anti-tumor effects, including inducing apoptosis and inhibiting cell proliferation, invasion, and angiogenesis,” the NOSI states. “These anti-tumor activities have led to early clinical testing of THC and CBD for glioblastoma and prostate cancers. While preclinical studies show differing effects of cannabinoids on cancer cells, deeper understanding is needed about how the tumor promoting and suppressive mechanisms of cannabinoid signaling influence cancer biological processes.”

The new report sheds light on specific cancer types that cannabis could play a role in, namely prostate cancer.

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