Can synthetic cannabinoids help cancer patients beyond providing comfort?


It is reasonable to expect discussion about medical treatments to stay rational, although that’s not always simple when innovative drugs are involved

For the better part of last two decades, experts have exchanged arguments about the possible role of cannabinoid compounds in cancer treatment. Despite intensive research and involvement of top scientific institutions in this discussion, we don’t seem to be anywhere closer to a definitive answer than we were when we started. The picture gets even murkier when the debate is narrowed down to synthetic cannabinoids, which carry an frightening aura of unknown and scare away many reputable drug researchers who could provide significant contributions in this field.

To be sure, a part of the belief that cannabis and its derivatives can help cancer patients is not supported by reliable clinical data. Marijuana can’t be described as cure for cancer under any circumstances, even though many patients display visible signs of progress after receiving cannabinoid-based medications at certain stages of treatment. Beneficial effects are not impactful enough to reverse advance of the disease, although they may help to reduce suffering from pain and stress associated with cancer. Equating secondary benefits with primary treatment is just plain wrong and it is impossible to justify frequent exaggerations of this kind made by the pro-cannabis crowd based on advocacy tactics.

At the other hand, resistance of the leading medical institutions to cannabinoids is equally puzzling. It is one thing to be cautious towards novel chemicals that have yet to be fully tested, but it is something else entirely to ignore double-blind studies indicating that patients can improve their quality of life with natural or synthetic cannabinoids. It is proven beyond any doubt that THC reduces nausea and stimulates appetite after the rigors of chemotherapy and this effect alone is sufficient to qualify cannabinoids as essential part of the medical response to cancer.

Of course, there is much to be said about synthetic cannabinoids and their general properties. Since this is a fast-moving field where certain substances get banned and replaced with different ones within months, medical professionals are often confused with all the available options. Leading research chemicals websites like EuroChemicals offer a range of legal cannabinoids that includes STS-135, 5F-AK48 and AB-Chminaca, all of which are relatively unknown outside the specialists circles. It is very difficult to predict how the legislative framework will evolve in the near future, so any plans for mid to long-term research into the value of cannabinoids for cancer patients run the risk of being cut short at any moment by legal changes.

It is worth repeating that a level-headed approach must be followed in the best interest of countless patients waiting for any kind of relief they can get. Restrictions on cannabinoid research should be relaxed and more public funds should be made available for this purpose, but no chemical should be accepted as legitimate medicament before undergoing serious testing. Middle road between the extremes could eventually lead us to new discoveries and help us with the battle against cancer.

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