According to the notice by the National Institutes of Health(NIH) on Thursday, one in four cancer patients have reportedly used cannabis to manage their symptoms such as nausea, pain, anorexia, and others but the research on the advantages and potential harms are quite limited.
The federal government is currently promoting different funding opportunities for researchers to study the impacts of marijuana on cancer patients. The research is encouraged to promote the understanding of different mechanisms by which cannabis and cannabinoids can affect humans in cancer biology, cancer treatment, cancer interception, and resistance.
According to NIH, the compounds in marijuana can affect the endocannabinoid system that may modulate various types of cancer-relevant processes and actions such as cell proliferation, motility, and survival.
Cancer cell line experiments state that THC and CBD are some major components that can mediate any possible anti-tumor effects, such as apoptosis, by inhibiting cell proliferation and angiogenesis. These anti-tumor activities have led to early clinical testing for THC and CBD for glioblastoma and prostate cancers.
The list of research topics that NIH is working on with various funding opportunities include:
- Understanding the exogenous cannabis and cannabinoids and their effect on cancer development.
- Defining the pathways of cannabis and cannabinoids in cancer treatment and the development of treatment resistance
- Understanding the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids on cancer interception and alleviating the symptoms of cancer
- Identifying any biological mechanisms and underlying disparities in sex and ethnicity on cannabis and cannabinoids regarding cancer biology.
- Understanding the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids with other factors such as tobacco constituents, alcohol, and more.
- Developing new human model symptoms to understand the effects of cannabis and cannabinoid action in cancer biology and symptom management
The notice is just a guideline for inviting researchers to propose different research objectives within this basic framework. Across multiple disciplines and advanced technologies, NIH is now promoting research on different activities related to cancer and the usage of cannabis.