Southern Illinois University Investigates the Use of Cannabis to Treat Ovarian Cancer
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Southern Illinois University Investigates the Use of Cannabis to Treat Ovarian Cancer

SIU researcher Dr. Dale “Buck” Buchanan is also a professor at the university of physiology and a founding member the Cannabis Science Center. Buchanan said that the Cannabis Science Center was established in December 2018. This was when it was removed from the controlled substances list and legalized the use of industrial aid nationwide. Buchanan spoke to The Daily Egyptian, SIU’s college newspaper. “There has been an incredible explosion since then.” Buchanan explained that he has been fascinated in cannabis’s potential to treat cancer since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed. He said that the vast majority of ovarian-cancer research is focused on extending what we call “progression-free survival.” “So it seems to me misguided that the focus on the research is on an incremental increase in life… so that we’re really interested prevention.” Buchanan points out that although rodents are the easiest to study, there is a similarity in ovarian cancer and chickens. “But the chicken is kinda counterintuitive. It is also susceptible to ovarian cancer as women. Although chickens and women give birth live, the ovaries of both are very similar. The thing that makes them so similar, however, is the number and frequency of lifetime ovulations. He said that Omega-three acids have a 70% reduction of the severity of cancer and 30% decrease in the incidence of the disease. All they did was add flax to their diet. “But we don’t know how it works so that’s our work,” he said. Graduate Student Didas Ray, a researcher, has begun to investigate the mechanisms of the body’s endocannabinoid systems, specifically Receptor 1. Roy explained that cannabinoids are produced in our bodies and they bind to specific receptors. “So receptor two is not very abundant in the ovary. However, receptor one is high in abundance. It seems like the expressions of those receptors increase in cancer.” Roy’s current focus is Transforming Growth Factor ss protein, which is also present in the ovaries and the endocannabinoid systems. Roy said that TGF-ss has been implicated in the development of cancer. Therefore, Roy is trying to determine how the two are related, who controls whom, and how they contribute to the ovarian cancer. “TGF-ss is an interconnected family of many, many receptors, ligands. I’m trying my best to examine all of them.” According to the American Cancer Society, about 19,880 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetimes [in 2022]. And approximately 12,810 women will succumb to the disease. To further investigate how cannabis can help reduce suffering and save lives, more research is being done. One study looked at the effectiveness of CBD in treating low-grade ovarian cancer. One study in September 2022 found that cannabis’s anticancer properties could help patients battle ovarian cancer and chemotherapy resistant. There is also a growing number of studies that show cannabis can be beneficial for other types of cancer. A study published in August 2022 showed that cannabis users are less likely than others to develop common liver cancer (or hepatocellular carcinoma) in the United States. This is a deadly form of cancer that kills approximately 19,000 men and 11,000 women annually. Another study shows that cannabis can be beneficial for cancer patients by relieving them of opiates and treating pain.

 

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