Cannabis has a long history as a cancer treatment. In an archeological investigation, cannabis was found on the body of a 2,500-year-old Siberian woman. After further investigation, researchers suggested that this woman may have been using cannabis to ease symptoms of breast cancer. Today, many cancer patients still gravitate toward the herb. But, while breast cancer is one thing, is cannabis effective against leukemia? Here’s what the evidence suggests.
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood cells. The disease affects white blood cells, causing them to proliferate and crowd out red blood cells. Red blood cells are vital for delivering oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. White blood cells are manufactured in bone marrow and are a part of the immune system.
Leukemia affects the cells that eventually differentiate into different types of white blood cells.
There are two main classes of white blood cells, and both of them can develop cancer. One type, called a lymphocyte, is responsible for making antibodies and defending the body against infection and irregularities like tumors. Myeloid stem cells provide the building blocks for several different kinds of blood cells, some of which respond to bodily distress signals and then engulf harmful pathogens.