Sept 10, 2012 by MARCO TORRES
Marijuana Cuts Tumor Growth By Half
The healing powers of marijuana and specifically how its active ingredients prevent disease lends credibility to claims that the pharmaceutical industry is behind marijuana prohibition laws. One of marijuana's active ingredients Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cuts tumor growth in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread.
The first research to show marijuana's anti-tumor properties was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Los Angeles in 2007 demonstrating that THC may activate biological pathways that halt cancer cell division or block development of blood vessels that feed tumors. It then became a target of synthetic research into THC for drugs such as ImClone System Inc.'s Erbitux and Amgen Inc.'s Vectibix.
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 researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.
For three weeks, researchers injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells, and found that tumors were reduced in size and weight by about 50 percent in treated animals compared to a control group. There was also about a 60 percent reduction in cancer lesions on the lungs in these mice as well as a significant reduction in protein markers associated with cancer progression, Preet says.
Although the researchers do not know why THC inhibits tumor growth, they say the substance could be activating molecules that arrest the cell cycle. They speculate that THC may also interfere with angiogenesis and vascularization, which promotes cancer growth.
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. Although a medical derivative of THC, known as Marinol, has been approved for use as an appetite stimulant for cancer patients, and a small number of U.S. states allow use of medical marijuana to treat the same side effect, few studies have shown that THC might have anti-tumor activity, Preet says. The only clinical trial testing THC as a treatment against cancer growth was a recently completed British pilot study in human glioblastoma.
The U.S. Patent 6630507 was specifically initiated when researchers found that cannabinoids had specific antioxidant properties making them useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia.
Unfortunately, the scientists will use the research on the effects of these receptors to develop new drugs to benefit the pharmaceutical industry.
Marijuana researcher and activist Jason Mihaldas says the studies finally justify what the pro-marijuana community has always know. "Decades of anecdotal and empirical evidence are now being validated by the scientific community, but it's unfortunate they are using this research for their own selfish motives--to take marijuana from its raw medically effective form to one where it will be medically ineffective with processing agents, altering what it was designed to do...heal," proclaimed Mihaldas.
Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention. CBD (Cannabidiol), one of the main constituents of the cannabis plant has been proven medically to relieve many diseases including the inhibition of cancer cell growth. Recent studies have shown it to be an effective atypical anti-psychotic in treating schizophrenia. CBD also interferes with the amount of THC your brain processes, balancing the psychotropic effect of marijuana. That is precisely why the power of raw cannabis is turning heads.
A British company, GW Pharma, is in advanced clinical trials for the world's first pharmaceutical developed from raw marijuana instead of synthetic equivalents and they say they'll have a mouth spray to treat cancer pain on pharmacy shelves by 2013.
“If cannabis were discovered in an Amazon rainforests today, people would be clambering to make as much use as they could out of the potential benefits of the plant,” said Donald L. Abrams, MD, Chief of Hematology and Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University California. Dr. Abrams is widely known for his research on medical cannabis applications. "Unfortunately, it carries with it a long and not so long history of being a persecuted plant," he added.
Now that the scientific evidence is being made public, a concerted effort must be made from all nations to end marijuana-prohibition laws. Holding or possessing a plant should never be a criminal offence and the origins and source for these laws are now coming to light.
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.