There is a growing body of evidence that marijuana and its components possess anti-cancer properties. Yet you won’t likely see this in mainstream news and you definitely won’t see pharmaceutical companies running advertisements stating this.
The latest research comes from the State University of New York (SUNY) in Syracuse whose study in the Journal of Pharmacology (June 2010) concludes that cannabinoids delta8- and delta-9-THC stopped growth in human oral cancer cells.1 This is specifically true of Tu183, a particularly difficult oral cancer. This was just the latest in many research reports and studies to have been published on the cancer-treating properties of marijuana and derivatives.
It’s been known for quite some time that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has cancer-inhibiting properties. A government-funded study in 1974 was quickly quashed after a favorable press account appeared in the Washington Post, only to resurface in the late 1990s and recently re-created by researchers in Madrid, Spain.2 & 3 The studies show the inhibitory effect of cannabis on brain tumors.
Marijuana has also been shown to have positive effects on other cancers, including breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and more.4
A review of clinical studies involving cannabis from 2005 to 2009 shows that 37 studies just on the therapeutic effects of marijuana or its derivatives were done in that time frame.5 This is over and above hard science, laboratory research into the use of cannabis as a medication.
So why is it that those who oppose marijuana as a medicine seem to have such a hard time acknowledging the huge body of evidence that’s accumulated for the past 30 or more years showing that cannabis has distinct and measurable medical benefits?
President Obama has told the Drug Enforcement Agency to stand down on marijuana raids and prosecutions in jurisdictions where marijuana has been made legal, including the 14 states plus Washington, D.C. that have medical marijuana laws on the books. Yet even with evidence in hand showing the efficacy of marijuana, government funding for studies with it are nearly non-existent. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration continues to approve drugs whose background studies and effects are nowhere near as comprehensive or prolific as are those for cannabis.
It’s time that opponents to marijuana admit that their reasons for blocking the medicinal use of this plant are entirely social and emotional and have no grounding in fact. Death, injury, and violent behavior is far more often done under the influence of alcohol than it is under pot, yet alcohol is perfectly legal. By contrast, more arrests for victimless crimes such as mere possession or use of marijuana are made every year than are busts for any other drug – legal or illegal.
As marijuana begins to receive more and more public advocacy and as more states legalize it, opponents of its decriminalization need to admit that they may be fighting it purely for nonsensical reasons.
1 – Cannabinoids inhibit cellular respiration of human oral cancer cells. by DA Whyte, S Al-Hammadi, et al
2 – Pot Shrinks Tumors; Government Knew in ’74 by Raymond Cushing, AlterNet
3 – Cannabinoids as potential new therapy for the treatment of gliomas by Daniela Parolaro and Paola Massi, Expert Review of Naurotherapeutics, Jan. 2008
4 – A Couple Of Recent Studies The Mainstream Media Forgot To Mention by Paul Armentano, NORML
5 – Review on clinical studies with cannabis and cannabinoids 2005-2009 by Arno Hazekamp and Franjo Grotenhermen, Cannabinoids 2010