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Marijuana users have 55% fewer chances of developing, one of the most common malignancies worldwide – hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to a study published this year in the medical journal Cureus.
HCC is considered the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the world and based on a study that analyzed data for millions of people in the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database, cannabis consumers have significantly lower chances of developing this disease.
Researchers from Georgetown University Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic, who led the study, said that the association between HCC and marijuana has already been noticed in ice, but to their knowledge, it hadn’t yet been confirmed in humans.
The study used data from the NIS database between 2002 and 2014 and included a total of 101.23 million patients. Out of the total, 996,290 were patients that consume marijuana, while the control group with no cannabis usage contained 100.23 patients.
“We noticed that patients with cannabis abuse were younger (34 vs 48 years), had more males (61.7% vs 41.4%) and more African Americans (29.9% vs 14.2%) compared with the control group (P<0.001 for all). Besides, patients with cannabis use had more hepatitis B, hepatitis C, liver cirrhosis, and smoking, but had less obesity and gallstones,” the study authors said.
And while the study revealed that “patients with cannabis abuse were 55% less likely to have HCC compared with patients without cannabis abuse,” the researchers highlighted that this only confirms correlation and that they could not definitely confirm direct causation.
“We suggest prospective clinical studies to further understand the mechanism by which various active ingredients, particularly CBD in cannabis, may possibly regulate hepatocellular carcinoma development,” they wrote.
Pre-clinical studies show promise
While this study does not confirm that marijuana can keep people’s livers safe from HCC, other recent studies are closely in line with the suggestion. In April, the biotech company, Can-Fite BioPharma completed pre-clinical studies demonstrating cannabinoid-based therapies stop liver cancer growth. The studies showed that CBD-rich T3/C15 cannabis fraction inhibited the growth of liver HEP-3b hepatocellular carcinoma cells via the A3AR by inhibiting Wnt- and NF-kappa B-related regulatory pathways. The company’s lead drug candidate Namodenoson is expected to enter the Phase 3 study in Q4 2021.
Previous studies on marijuana and cancer
In March, An Israeli biotech company that develops medical products based on cannabis and fungal extracts, Cannabotech reported cell model study results showing that its “Integrative-Colon” products killed over 90% of colon cancer cells. The Integrative-Colon products are based on a combination of several cannabinoids from the cannabis plant and various mushroom extracts.
Experiments conducted on a cell model showed that a botanical drug based on an extract of the Cyathus striatus fungus and a cannabinoid extract from the cannabis plant eliminated 100% of pancreatic cancer cells relatively selectively and without damaging normal cells. The results were revealed in April 2022.
A study conducted by Hadassah Medical Center physicians and published in December revealed a sixfold improvement in killing breast cancer cells when using specific Cannabotech’s medical cannabis products in combination with standard oncology treatments and drug protocols such as chemotherapy, biological and hormonal, over the existing treatment.