Dr. Michael Duplessie, FRCS Ophth (Glasgow), M.B., B.Ch., L.R.C.P. & S.I., B.A.O., B.A.


Cannabis sativa L. has garnered significant attention in recent years for its potential medicinal properties. Two compounds in particular, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), have been the focus of research into their effects on inflammation and cancer-related pain. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recognizes medicinal C. sativa as an effective treatment for symptoms associated with cancer, including pain, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and loss of appetite.


CBD is a multitarget molecule that acts as an adaptogen and modulator, interacting with specific receptor proteins CB1 and CB2 to restore balance in the brain and body. Unlike Δ9-THC, CBD is nonpsychoactive and is present in both medicinal and fibre-type C. sativa plants. Fibre-type C. sativa, also known as hemp, differs from medicinal C. sativa in that it contains high levels of CBD and related nonpsychoactive compounds, but only low levels of Δ9-THC.


In preclinical studies, CBD has shown promise as an anticancer molecule, with the ability to inhibit cell proliferation and increase apoptosis in different types of cancer models. CBD has also been found to possess antioxidant activity, suggesting a possible role in the prevention of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. In animal models, coadministration of CBD and Δ9-THC, followed by radiation therapy, has been shown to increase autophagy and apoptosis in cancer cells.


Minor cannabinoids and noncannabinoid constituents of Δ9-THC-deprived hemp also play a role in the effects of C. sativa. Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), the acidic precursor of CBD, has been found to inhibit the migration of breast cancer cells and downregulate proto-oncogene c-fos and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). This suggests that CBDA may act on a common pathway of inflammation and cancer mechanisms, contributing to its anticancer activity.


In this review, we explore the effects and molecular mechanisms of CBD on inflammation and cancer processes, highlighting the potential of minor cannabinoids and noncannabinoid constituents of hemp. With promising preclinical results, it is possible that C. sativa may prove to be a valuable addition to cancer treatment regimens. Nonetheless, further research is needed to fully understand its potential and mechanisms of action.

Medical Marijuana

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Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to breaking conventions and helping those in need. My passion for medicine began during my time working in refugee camps in Thailand, and since then, I have made it my mission to provide care and support to those who need it most.

As a pioneer in the field of ophthalmology, I have made numerous contributions and innovations in the field of corneal transplantation and laser surgery.  I am comfortable challenging conventions.

I have seen firsthand the positive impact medical marijuana can have on patients struggling with pain and anxiety. 

My experiences have shown me that medical marijuana can offer significant benefits with minimal side effects, providing patients with an alternative to traditional pharmaceutical medications. Despite its potential, the government’s stance on marijuana is outdated and in need of revision. 

Through my observations, I have seen prescription rates for pain, stress, insomnia, anxiety to name just a few, drastically decrease among patients who have obtained a medical marijuana card, and I believe that this is a testament to its effectiveness.

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