Relief from the side effects of cancer chemotherapy is a widely accepted medical use of marijuana in the United States. The American Cancer Society is one of dozens of national and international health organizations that have voiced support for further research on the medical use of cannabis in cancer chemotherapy treatments.
Over 20 major studies have shown that cannabinoids actually fight cancer cells. In fact, it’s been shown that cannabinoids arrest cancer growths of many different forms of cancer, including brain, melanoma and breast cancer. There’s even growing evidence that cannabinoids cause direct anti-tumor activity. One literally has to be a fool not to consider utilizing medical mari- juana in one’s cancer protocol after reading the research as well as the expe- rience of many people who have used it.
In 1991, 44 percent of oncologists surveyed said they had already recom- mended cannabis to their patients, and 56 percent said that marijuana should be legally prescribable. As early as 1975 the New England Journal of Medicine had reported that, “THC is an effective anti-emetic for patients receiving can- cer chemotherapy.” Since then, dozens of scientific studies recognized by the
“Marijuana has remarkably low toxicity and lethal doses in humans have not been described. This is in stark contrast to a number of commonly prescribed medications used for similar purposes, including opiates, anti-emetics, anti-depressants and muscle relaxants, not to mention legal substances used recreationally including tobacco and alcohol,” writes Dr. Gregory T. Carter, Clinical Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Notice Dr. Carter said low toxicity not no toxicity.
Marijuana does have side effects and can be addictive but not in the same sense as opioids. Many people smoke marijuana their entire lives and it still does not cause the same problems as alcohol and many other drugs.
Ron Paul called the war on drugs “un-American,” believing we should all be able to think for ourselves or alter our consciousness if we want. Though marijuana is associated with alternative lifestyles many of the straightest people in the country smoke marijuana, scientists, writers, politicians and even policemen. School teachers do it too and everyone else you can think of because when used as a medicine to alleviate pain and suffering, no one is counted out.
According to Dr. Robert Ramer and Dr. Burkhard Hinz of the University of Rostock in Germany, medical marijuana can be an effective treatment for cancer. Their research was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Insti- tute Advance Access on December 25th of 2007 in a paper entitled “Inhibition of Cancer Cell Invasion by Cannabinoids via Increased Expression of Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinases.”
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and natural cannabinoids counteract cancer and chemical toxicity from drugs and environmental sources thus helping to preserve normal cells. Dr. Donald Abrams, a cancer specialist at San Francisco General Hospital says, “Every day I see people with nausea secondary to chemotherapy, depression, trouble sleeping, pain,” he says. “I can recommend one drug [marijuana] for all those things, as opposed to writing five different prescriptions.” Marijuana stems the nausea if one is inclined to go through chemo and radiation therapy. At the same time it treats their depression and just makes the patient feel better. On top of this it can actually treat cancer, reducing tumors and helps affect a complete cure. Medicine does not get any better than this except of course when one starts to combine medicinals (not pharmaceuticals).
Marijuana cuts lung cancer tumor growth in half, a 2007 Harvard Medical School study shows. The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies. Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was found to inhibit EGF-induced growth and migration in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing non-small cell lung cancer cell lines. Lung cancers that over-express EGFR are usually highly aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy. THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors.
“The beauty of this study is that we are showing that a substance of abuse, if used prudently, may offer a new road to therapy against lung cancer,” said Anju Preet, PhD, a researcher in the Division of Experimental Medicine. Acting through cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, endocannabinoids (as well as THC) are thought to play a role in variety of biological functions, including pain and anxiety control and inflammation.
Researchers reported in the August 15, 2004 issue of Cancer Research, the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, that marijuana’s constituents inhibited the spread of brain cancer in human tumor biopsies. In a related development, a research team from the University of South Florida further noted that THC can also selectively inhibit the activation and replication of gamma herpes viruses. The viruses, which can lie dormant for years within white blood cells before becoming active and spreading to other cells, are thought to increase one’s chances of developing cancers, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, Burkitt’s lymphoma, and Hodgkin’s disease.
In 1998, a research team at Madrid’s Complutense University discovered that THC can selectively induce programmed cell death in brain tumor cells without negatively impacting surrounding healthy cells. Then in 2000, they reported in the journal Nature Medicine that injections of synthetic THC eradicated malignant gliomas (brain tumors) in one-third of treated rats and pro- longed life in another third by six weeks.
Led by Dr. Manuel Guzman, the Spanish team announced they had destroyed incurable brain cancer tumors in rats by injecting them with THC. They reported in the March 2002 issue of Nature Medicine that they injected the brains of 45 rats with cancer cells, producing tumors whose presence they confirmed through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). On the 12th day they injected 15 of the rats with THC and 15 with Win-55,212-2 a synthetic com- pound similar to THC.
The Spanish team of researchers found that THC protected rats and extended their lives when they had cancer, also irrigated healthy rats’ brains with large doses of THC for seven days to test for harmful biochemical or neurological effects. They found none. “Careful MRI analysis of all those tumor-free rats showed no sign of damage related to necrosis, edema, infection, or trauma. We also examined other potential side effects of cannabinoid administration. In both tumor-free and tumor-bearing rats, cannabinoid administration induced no substantial change in behavioral parameters, such as motor coordination or physical activity. Food and water intake as well as body weight gain were unaffected during and after cannabinoid delivery. Likewise, the general hematological profiles of cannabinoid-treated rats were normal. Thus, neither biochemical parameters nor markers of tissue damage changed substantially during the seven-day delivery period or for at least two months after cannabinoid treatment ended.”
The cannabinoids inhibited the expression of several genes critical to angiogenesis known as the VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) path- way. Blockade of the VEGF pathway constitutes one of the most promising antitumoral approaches currently available, Guzman says. The cannabinoids work by increasing the potency of a fat molecule known as ceramide. Increased ceramide activity, in turn, inhibits cells that would normally produce VEGF and encourage blood vessel growth.
The findings from Spain were first published in the April 2009 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study showed that THC caused brain cancer cells to undergo a process called autophagy. This process causes cells to feed upon themselves, thereby destroying them, and not only did researchers witness this process, the specific route by which the autophagy process unfolds was isolated as well. Although this study involved injecting mice with live human brain cancer tumors, the study also involved two human patients who both had highly aggressive forms of brain cancer. When both the mice and the humans received THC, the tumors shrank in size.
Combining the two most common cannabinoid compounds in cannabis boosts the effectiveness of treatments to inhibit the growth of brain cancer cells and increase the number of those cells that die off. Researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI) combined the non-psychoactive cannabis compound, cannabidiol (CBD), with delta-9- tetrahyrdocannabinol (Δ9-THC), the primary psychoactive active ingredient in cannabis. They found that the combination boosts the inhibitory effects of Δ9-THC on glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain tumor, and the cancer that claimed the life of Senator Ted Kennedy last year. Researchers at the University of Milan in Naples, Italy reported in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics that non-psychoactive compounds in marijuana inhibited the growth of glioma cells in a dose dependent manner, and selectively targeted and killed malignant cells through apoptosis. “Non-psychoactive CBD [cannabidiol] produces a significant anti- tumor activity both in vitro and in vivo, thus suggesting a possible application of CBD as an antineoplastic agent.”
The first experiment documenting pot’s anti-tumor effects took place in 1974 at the Medical College of Virginia at the behest of the U.S. government. The results of that study, reported in an August 18, 1974 Washington Post news- paper feature, were that marijuana’s psychoactive component, THC, “slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent.” Funded by the National Institute of Health to find evidence that marijuana damages the immune system, these researchers from Virginia found instead that THC was astonishing in helping fight the war against cancer. The DEA quickly shut down the Virginia study and all further cannabis/tumor research.
“Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids,” an article in a 1975 Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports, “Lewis lung adenocarcinoma growth was retarded by the oral administration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN)”—two types of cannabinoids, a family of active components in marijuana. “Mice treated for 20 consecutive days with THC and CBN had reduced primary tumor size.”
Ironically, the government’s own National Toxicology Program study indicated that cannabis might actually help prevent cancer. In the mid-1990s, the U.S. federal government funded a two-year and two-million-dollar study by the National Toxicology Program under the review of the Federal Drug Administration, the National Cancer Institute, and other federal agencies. The study was designed to determine the cancer rate induced by injecting high doses of THC in the bodies of mice, then injecting them with cancerous cells. The study found that the mice injected with THC had a far lower incidence of cancer than did the control group.
The profound implication that cannabis use helps prevent and treat cancer was never officially released to the American public. The executive secretary of the Toxicology Program remarked many years ago, “I think it’s terrible the way the government is handling this marijuana issue. There’s no reason this shouldn’t have been published.” Compounds found in cannabis have been shown to kill numerous cancer types including: lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, glioma, skin cancer, and pheochromo-cytoma, meaning many lives could have been saved if the government would have been fair with its own people.
Cannabinoids are usually well tolerated, and do not produce the generalized toxic effects of conventional pharmaceuticals. However, at Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, researchers have found that abrupt marijuana withdrawal leads to symptoms like depression and nicotine withdrawal.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) issued a policy statement years ago endorsing medical marijuana use. The group has urged the government to reverse its ban on medical treatments using marijuana. "ACP encourages the use of non-smoked forms of THC (the main psychoactive element in marijuana) that have proven therapeutic value." The Philadelphia-based organization, the second largest doctor’s group in the United States, cited studies into marijuana’s medical applications such as treating severe weight loss associated with illnesses such as AIDS, and treating nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer patients.
Medical science is strongly in favor of THC-laden hemp oil as a primary cancer therapy, not just in a supportive role to control the side effects of chemotherapy. Hemp seed oil has long been recognized as one of the most versatile and beneficial substances known to man. Derived from hemp seeds (a member of the achene family of fruits) it has been regarded as a super food due to its high essential fatty acid content and the unique ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 and gamma linolenic acid (GLA)—2:5:1. Hemp seed oil is known to contain up to 5 percent of pure GLA, a much higher concentration than any other plant, even higher than spirulina. For thousands of years, the hemp plant has been used in elixirs and medicinal teas because of its healing properties and now medical science is zeroing in on the properties of its active substances.
The essential oil derived from the crystals on the bud and upper leaves is not the same as hemp seed oil. There is very little nutritional benefit in the buds of the plant, but the THC carries the curative power in the cannabinoids and cannibidiols. Used as a tea, the leaves containing the THC crystals would be steeped and thus release medicine.
Rick Simpson tells us, “History calls hemp a panacea, which means cure- all. From my experience of seeing hemp oil used for various medical conditions, I too call hemp a cure-all. Hemp is useful in the treatment of practically any disease or condition; it promotes full-body healing. From our experience the oil is also very beneficial for most skin conditions; it can be mixed with skin creams or even suntan lotion. Wouldn’t it be nice to go out in the sun and not have to worry about skin cancer? From my experience, the oil is effective in the treatment of all types of skin cancers, and the same holds true for internal cancers and other medical conditions.”
Simpson continues, “Hemp oil seems to work on all types of cancer, and I am not aware of any type of cancer that it would not be effective for. Put simply, cancer is just mutating cells; THC kills mutating cells. When hemp oil is ingested as a cancer medication, the THC in the oil causes a buildup of a fat molecule called ceramide. When ceramide comes in contact with cancer cells it causes programmed cell death of the cancer cells while doing no harm to healthy cells. I have seen hemp oil relieve pain from bone cancer that morphine had no effect on. I have provided hemp oil to many people with chronic pain and some of the results have been amazing. It is not unusual to receive reports from people within days telling me that they are no longer in pain. Hemp oil has the ability to eliminate pain, but it also goes to work healing the problem that is causing the pain. Pharmaceuticals do nothing to heal the underlying cause of pain; they simply mask the pain. Realistically, there is no comparison between hemp oil and pharmaceuticals; most pain medications supplied by our medical system are dangerous, addictive, and deadly, while hemp oil presents no addiction or danger to the patient.”
Marijuana increases our chances of beating cancer; it is that simple. Mainstream research leads us to the undeniable conclusion that marijuana is the premier cancer medicine humanity has been looking for and has finally found.
Contemporary oncologists are interested in it for its ability to mitigate the nasty side effects of chemo and radiation therapy. They never think of it as an important part of the actual treatment of cancer. The same could be said about sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).
Cannabis Science Inc., a pioneering U.S. biotech company developing pharmaceutical cannabis products, reported in early 2012 their success with self-medicated cannabis patients treating themselves for cancer. The case is graphic. One of the patient’s physicians said it was the worst case of squamous cell carcinoma cancer he had ever seen.
Scientific trials have for decades documented the anti-cancer properties of cannabis and its constituents, yet it took the National Institute of Cancer, a component of the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health, awhile to finally acknowledge the herb’s therapeutic utility for patients living with disease or suffering from the adverse side effects of cancer treatment.