Bangalore oncologists want cannabis legalised to help fight cancer

Top oncologists of Bengaluru have decided to lobby with the Centre to lift the ban on cannabis for medicinal purposes due to the health benefits of the drug.

Oncologists are lobbying to make cannabis use legal for medicinal purposes. Reuters

Oncologists are lobbying to make cannabis use legal for medicinal purposes. Reuters

"We are encouraging cultivation of tobacco that causes various types of cancer. At the other end, we are ignoring the medicinal properties of a plant that can help cancer patients. We are not even able to take up research as procurement of the plant is illegal in India, whereas oncologists in 21 states of the US are prescribing derivatives of cannabis for cancer treatment," Dr Vishal Rao, surgical oncologist, told The Times Of India.

Other oncologists also pointed out that cannabis prevents blood supply to a cancer tumour and India is lagging behind other countries in cannabis research, said the report.

Apart from cannabis' ability to fight cancer, it can greatly reduce the pain felt by patients, said a study. Researchers from the University of Oxford found that the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis doesn't reduce the intensity of pain but makes it more bearable.

Scientists have also found that People who smoke marijuana may have lower levels of inflammation which is linked with the risk of heart disease.

Researchers examined data from more than 9,000 people on their history of marijuana use and their levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), one marker of inflammation that is frequently linked with people's risk of heart disease.

The researchers found that people who smoked pot in the last month had lower CRP levels than those who had never smoked the drug.

The new evidence "points toward possible anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis smoking," the researchers said in the study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

However, the researchers remain cautious about the possible implications of their findings, as previous research on CRP levels and marijuana use in people has been scarce and the results of other studies have been inconsistent.

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