Cannabis Can Kill Cancer Cells
Researchers for the federal government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse recently made a little-announced update to their info sheet on medical cannabis. Their statement, confirms some recent studies conducted on animals which showed a reduction and shrinkage of certain cancers and even the killing of cancer cells.
On top of that fantastic data, these same studies showed that chemotherapy was more effective if medical cannabis was also ingested.
In short, the news is overwhelmingly positive and confirms what many have already said about the potent medical benefits of marijuana. The NIDA statement reads,
“…recent animal studies have shown that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors. Research in mice showed that these extracts, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.”
And it’s not just THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, that has proven to be medically effective, but CBD, or Cannabidiol.
CBD another cannabinoid in marijuana that doesn’t get you high, but as the updated NIDA fact sheet on medical marijuana also notes, CBD has proven effective i
n treating ailments from Alzheimer’s Disease, inflammation and pain to seizures, mental disorders and substance abuse.
In Light of Cannabis and Cancer Research
Uncle Sam has some explaining to do. Of course, it’s super-exciting to hear about these studies that powerfully suggest cannabis can help people fight cancer.
But on the other hand, we’re not surprised that it does. And marijuana has been shown in studies and through ample anecdotal evidence to be a powerful harm-reduction tool in any medical situation.
So when we read that, despite a move by the Senate to end the federal ban on medical marijuana by making it a Schedule II drug instead of Schedule I, the Department of Justice has insisted on enforcing the old ban, we get pretty frustrated.
Not only is the DOJ in violation of a law Congress passed last year that instituted protections for medicinal use, but they also seem unable to come up with a good reason for doing so.
Cancer Patients Hang in the Balance
There do seem to be some signs, however, of a change in attitude signaled by the recent statements and opinions by an ever-increasing number of government officials.
Talented people are talking and stepping up to the plate for patients who stand only to gain from a liberalization of medical marijuana laws.
In addition to the NIDA’s public acknowledgment, the government has made other admissions of the medical benefits of cannabis: it holds a patent on cannabinoids for use as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.
In February of this year, the Surgeon General declared that the plant offers health benefits.
Cancer Patients Suffer
Patients diagnosed with cancer often undergo painful surgeries and chemical and radiological therapies that damage their bodies in terrible ways.
We should acknowledge and respect the difficulty faced by cancer patients and their families, and one of the best ways to do that is to provide them with a range of treatments that address the whole person, and not just the disease.
Cannabis has proven beneficial for the mind and body when administered medically, and now we know that it also targets the cancer cells themselves, killing or shrinking them.
Cannabinoids also make chemotherapy more effective, potentially reducing the number of doses required and contributing to a faster recovery for the cancer survivor.