Cancer Treatment: Doctors observe “striking” shrinkage in lung cancer tumor after a woman took medicinal cannabis

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An intriguing case report in the British Medical Journal describes a woman in her 80s with lung cancer who experienced tumor regression while taking medicinal cannabis.

In summer 2018 doctors examined the woman and discovered a 41-mm (1.6-in.) tumor in her right lung. They decided to monitor her, conducting CT scans every 3–6 months. During the 2.5-year follow-up period, CT scans showed a progressive decrease of the initial tumor from 41 mm in June 2018 to 10 mm (0.4 in.) in February 2021.

It wasn’t until then that the woman revealed she started taking a medicinal cannabis oil at a dose of 0.5 milliliters orally three times daily, and occasionally twice daily, shortly after her diagnosis.

The active ingredients were THC (19.5%), CBD (20.05%), and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (23.8%).

In an interview with Medical News Today, the lead author of the case report, Dr. Kah Ling Liew at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in the UK, commented:

We were definitely not expecting to see such a striking tumor regression with no conventional cancer treatments and no other health or lifestyle changes. […] Multiple studies so far in animal models have shown conflicting results, with some cases reducing cancer cell growth and others finding an accelerating growth of cancer cells.

Observers say the case report underscores the urgent need for clinical trials to confirm the effectiveness of a cannabis oil to treat cancer.

One reason the need is urgent is because, as the case report tells us, “Conventional lung cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy; however, these treatments are often poorly tolerated by patients.”

And the eventual therapy won’t be one size fits all. As Dr. Liew points out, there’s important nuance to look for that will help optimize treatment:

The optimal dosage, form, route of administration, and combination of CBD/THC for each specific type of cancer — brain, lung, liver, prostate, and so on — needs to be further researched and determined. There will not be a single treatment that works for every form of cancer.

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