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Cannabis could help cancer patients to stop losing weight

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Posted May 2, 2019

In the recent years cannabis has been getting a lot of scientific attention. Nowadays scientists agree that the potential of this plant is severely underutilized. While consequences of the legality of recreational use of marijuana are still debatable, its potential to become a modern and natural medicine is huge. Now scientists at UCL found that cannabis could be useful in easing the side effects of chemotherapy.

Cannabis is getting a lot of attention lately because of its potential uses in medicine. Image credit: Cannabis Tours via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Chemotherapy is the most effective cancer treatment we have. However, it has severe side effects, such as the loss of weight. Scientists thought that a little studied cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG) could help with this issue. They conducted a study with mice, which showed that CBG is able to reduce the weight loss by 60% in 24 hours. Previous studies have indicated that CBG improves patient’s appetite without any side effects in healthy rats, which could explain why it helps retaining the healthy weight. However, scientists found a completely different effect as well.

Scientists discovered that CBG reduces the breakdown of muscle tissue (cachexia) in rats. Cachexia occurs due to chemotherapy. You have to remember that on many levels chemotherapy is basically a poison – you have to poison yourself to heal yourself. Cachexia results in frailness, reduced quality of life and fighting chances against cancer. It is a terrible debilitating condition that many cancer patients have to live through. Current anti-cachexia treatments have limited effectiveness, which is why scientists are extremely happy about the developments of the CBG study.

This study also has many positive side effects. For example, many people concentrate on THC and CBD, but cannabis has so much more to offer. CBG could have many clinical applications. Also, this study provides some new insights in cachexia. Scientists think that this is the first research ever to prove that chemotherapy-driven cachexia is linked with widespread changes in lipoamine levels. Professor Claire Williams, one of the authors of the study, said: “This tells us valuable new information about cachexia itself, by highlighting that the endocannabinoid system may have an underappreciated but important role in this condition that warrants further study for potential therapeutic targets”.

Cannabis will continue bringing surprises. And it is great. This plant may be holding a lot of secrets and new treatments to various diseases. It is important that scientists look past CBD and THC, because cannabis has much more to offer – CBG is a good example.

 

Source: UCL

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