Osteosarcoma is a rare, but debilitating, type of cancerous tumor that grows on the bone. Aggressive and destructive, it not only affects people, but beloved family dogs as well. Of the many types of cancer, Osteosarcoma is one of the most invasive and can be extremely difficult to treat. The standard care approach is usually amputation or through limb-sparing surgery and chemotherapy. These options are not without their own drawbacks and often present the patient with negative and potentially dangerous side effects. When faced with such bleak situations, patients and family often members often look for alternatives. The good news is that evidence is mounting that medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, is effective in treating osteosarcoma- in addition to and as an alternative for traditional medical treatments. Not only can it be useful in helping humans with osteosarcoma, medical cannabis can also effectively treat dogs.
While it is unfortunate that the current legal status in the United States has made it somewhat difficult for researchers to study the effects of medical cannabis, this has not stopped the progression of medical cannabis research worldwide. In fact, other countries have been reporting on the benefits of cannabis for over two decades. For example, the medical research team at Complutense University of Madrid has been studying the effects of cannabinoids such as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CDB) since 1998. This team studied the effect that these cannabinoids can have on cancer cells and found that THC in particular, “induced apoptosis in several transformed neural cells but not in primary astrocytes or neurons” and then again in 2002 stated that THC “induced a considerable regression of malignant” cancer cells. In other words, this medical research team found that the chemical compounds in cannabis induce cellular death in cancer cells.
The studies have continued to show even more evidence that cannabis is effective against Osteosarcoma. In 2006, scientists at Harvard University stated that the chemical compound THC actually slows the growth in cancer cells and, “significantly reduces the ability of cancer to spread.” In 2007 Dr. Sean McAllister, a scientist at the Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco studying breast cancer, discovered that the compound CBD inhibits the growth and metastasis of cancer cells. He stated that CBD eliminates cancer cells and destroys malignant tumors by switching off the communication of the ID-1 gene, a protein that appears to play a major role as a conduit for cancer cells.
Additionally, the THC is very selective in targeting specific tumor cells while sparing the nearby healthy cells. Conventional cancer therapy, such as chemotherapy, is incredibly toxic and will indiscriminately attack healthy cells leaving damage to not only the area surrounding an osteosarcoma but other parts as well, including the brain. Medical cannabis, in contrast does not have these adverse risks in neither humans nor dogs, making it a safer and more attractive treatment option.
When considering a medical cannabis protocol to treat Osteosarcoma in humans or dogs, it is important to consider the different ways that cannabis can positively affect the patient. In addition to the treatment of the osteosarcoma itself, medical cannabis has been shown to address other issues associated with cancer. It can help to ease some of the negative symptoms that can arise from chemotherapy such as neuropathy and nausea due to its anti-inflammatory and antiemetic properties. Additionally, cannabis is well-known for its effective use against cancer-related symptoms such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. So while the main target of a treatment plan is the osteosarcoma, it is also important to treat the pain from a holistic standpoint and address any and all underlying or accompanying symptoms.
Osteosarcoma is a frustratingly aggressive type of cancer which often has a grim prognosis for humans and dogs. The general treatment plans of amputation and chemotherapy have their own negative side effects which can take an already negative situation and make it even worse. The good news is that patients suffering with osteosarcoma can use medical cannabis to treat the osteosarcoma while also helping to ease the side effects of any conventional treatments and medications. Whether alone or in conjunction with conventional chemotherapy, medical cannabis can provide real results and immediate relief for people and dogs suffering from osteosarcoma.