Even as the federal government continues to hold the line on marijuana laws, classifying the weed as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, it is simultaneously acknowledging the usefulness of medical marijuana in combating cancer.
Schedule 1 drugs are those considered dangerous, addictive and lacking in medical merit. Federal government agencies serve many masters. The powerful prison lobby wants drug offenders behind bars. The FDA clients are big drug companies, which do not want medical marijuana competing with their products.
Nevertheless, the National Cancer Institute recently referenced unpublicized studies that include many case histories of ameliorating the terrible side effects of chemotherapy, and others of cannabis actually curing cancers. The government usually dismisses these as anecdotal, because the government is not is funding controlled, scientific studies in this area.
Here, however, is a list excerpted directly from one of the National Cancer Institute’s Question and Answer pages about cannabis:
Studies in mice and rats have shown that cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.
–A study in mice showed that cannabinoids may protect against inflammation of the colon and may have potential in reducing the risk of colon cancer, and possibly in its treatment.
–A laboratory study of delta-9-THC in hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) cells showed that it damaged or killed the cancer cells. The same study of delta-9-THC in mouse models of liver cancer showed that it had antitumor effects. Delta-9-THC has been shown to cause these effects by acting on molecules that may also be found in non-small cell lung cancer cells and breast cancer cells.
–A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells showed that it caused cancer cell death while having little effect on normal breast cells. Studies in mouse models of metastatic breast cancer showed that cannabinoids may lessen the growth, number, and spread of tumors.
–A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in human glioma cells showed that when given along with chemotherapy, CBD may make chemotherapy more effective and increase cancer cell death without harming normal cells. Studies in mouse models of cancer showed that CBD together with delta-9-THC may make chemotherapy such as temozolomide more effective.
Stimulating Cancer Patients’ Appetites
–Many animal studies have shown that delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids stimulate appetite and can increase food intake.
–Cannabinoid receptors (molecules that bind cannabinoids) have been studied in the brain, spinal cord, and nerve endings throughout the body to understand their roles in pain relief.
–Cannabinoids have been studied for anti-inflammatory effects that may play a role in pain relief.
Ironically, even as the government’s chief cancer research agency is lauding the benefits of cannabis, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved the painkiller Oxycontin for 11-year-old children. Oxycontin is synthetic heroin, highly addictive. Children are also given synthetic “speed” in the form of Ritalin, which the FDA has approved even for children under five years old.
At some point, the U.S. government is going to have to survey the human studies now being conducted in countries like Spain and Israel, and develop a coherent set of recommendations that include the use of cannabis. Many of these studies can be found on the PubMed site.