By Benjahmin Koenigsberg
Do you know someone affected or suffering with cancer?
Cancer is a huge problem across the globe and affects all of us in some way. Approximately 38.4 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. And in 2019 an estimated 1,762,450 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States alone.
What is cancer?
The human body has several trillion cells, each one like a mini factory with specialized functions. Like all living things, cells have an intended life cycle. They are born, live, and then die. Every day the average person loses 50 to 70 billion cells naturally as an automatic function of the body maintaining its balance.
Cancer cells are unique because their genetic mechanisms for growing and dying are turned off. Bodily harm is caused by cancer cells abnormal ability to grow and spread indifferently.
Cancer cells usually group or clump together to form tumors, destroying the normal cells around the tumor and damaging the body’s healthy cells. Sometimes, cancer cells break away from the original tumor and travel to other areas of the body, where they keep growing and can go on to form new tumors.
Cancer can be extremely painful and lead to an overwhelming amount of suffering. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world.
The most common form of cancer treatment is to surgically remove the tumors and cancer cells from the body.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also common treatments. These therapies work by targeting the cells genes and activate the cell to remember how to die naturally. One huge problem with the chemicals used in chemotherapy is they do not differentiate between healthy cells and cancer cells, often doing more harm to the body than good.
These treatments can be successful at times. However, they have been ineffective at achieving consistent long-term high cure rates for many common cancers.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapies can also come with debilitating side effects and expensive price tags.
What if there was a superior treatment for cancer, one without any negative side effects or high costs? What if cannabis cures cancer?
Cannabis has been known to alleviate cancer-related symptoms, and discomfort associated with chemo and radiation therapies. However, there is an expanding body of evidence that cannabis can actually reduce and reverse cancer growth.
The cannabis plant, also known as marijuana and pakalolo, contains more than 400 different chemical components. Human records of cannabis cultivation go back to at least 3000 BC.
Recently, scientists have identified the different biologically active components in cannabis, and isolated their cellular reactions and effects in our bodies.
These components are called cannabinoids, and they act as part of our endocannabinoid system, which we all have within us. The endocannabinoid system modulates many functions such as movement, memory, appetite, regulation of body temperature, pain and immune functions.
More than 100 distinct cannabinoids have been found in cannabis. The two most studied are the chemicals delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (often referred to as THC) — the compound responsible for getting us high — and cannabidiol (CBD).
Cannabinoids initiate their physiological effects by activating specific receptors on the outside of various cells in different regions of our bodies.
Only cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors can fit together, like a key for a specific lock. Some types of cancer cells have these cannabinoid receptors on them as well.
Cannabinoids, like THC and CBD for example, interact with cancer cell receptors and stimulate pathways in the cell that induce the cancer cell to die naturally like normal cells. Cannabinoids do not cause any harm to nearby healthy cells, only increase the effectiveness of immune cells.
The research into cannabinoids in cancer treatment is new and has faced challenges largely because of the federal government’s criminalization of the plant.
Cannabis is also being researched for its properties to treat a host of other diseases and conditions, from post-traumatic stress disorder to Alzheimer’s.
In addition, cannabis has a multitude of industrial and commercial applications, from biofuels to building materials and textiles.
I highly encourage Kaua‘i residents to participate in this year’s 2019 Kaua‘i Cannabis and Hemp Conference and Expo Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Kaua‘i Wailua Bay.
The 2019 Kaua‘i Cannabis and Hemp Conference will attempt to dispel marijuana myths and bring attention to tangible benefits of daily cannabis use in our society.
Kaua‘i Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar will be the keynote speaker addressing Kaua‘i’s law enforcement and cannabis, as Hawai‘i has recently decriminalized a small amount of cannabis possession.
Panel topics will also include CBD, cannabis for seniors, cannabis cultivation and industrial hemp. In addition, there will be vendor booths and music.
Ticket outlets include Garden Island CBD in Kapa‘a, JC’s Flowers and Minimart in Wailua, Garden Island Hydro in Puhi, and at kauaicommunityevents.com. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
I also recommend the 2010 documentary “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer?” Directed by Len Richmond.
- Benjahmin Koenigsberg is a Kapa‘a-based online heath coach helping people who love eating to stay trim easily without dieting. For those struggling to lose weight or trust their appetites, Benjahmin offers a complimentary coaching call for gaining fresh insight into current health challenges and future goals. Visit eatwell2bwell.comor call (503) 358-5187.