Everything that has been suggesting for the cancer-fighting properties of marijuana in the past 40 years has been either silenced or completely denied by the US government. They continue pushing their synthetic drugs and try their best to restrict marijuana as much as possible.
Unfortunately, federal permission is mandatory in order to conduct researches on marijuana, due to its illegal schedule 1 status.
According to the findings that Paul Armentano, Senior Policy Analyst at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) collected, the US government has denied some pretty across-the-board conclusive evidence.
Thanks to Armentano, decades of research has been brought together.
“Cannabinoids possess… anticancer activity [and may] possibly represent a new class of anti-cancer drugs that retard cancer growth, [and] inhibit… the metastatic spreading of cancer cells” he starts his study with this quote from the conclusion of another comprehensive review.
He went back to a 1974 study conducted by the Medical College of Virginia, where it was found that cannabis can inhibit malignant tumor cell growth in both cultures and mice. The Washington Post published this study where it was also stated that marijuana’s primary cannabinoid, 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.”
Nonetheless, the government didn’t allow any future funding for 20 years, until a mid-90s study was conducted by the US National Toxicology Program. They confirmed the results of the previous research. Rodents were given high doses of THC over long periods of time, and they experienced greater protection against malignant tumors than the untreated mice.
But, these results were kept silent, away from the public eye. Luckily, in 1997 they were leaked in a medical journal, and were further released the national media. Yet, the government refused to fund further researches in America.
Many studies conducted over the past two decades continued to report on cannabinoids’ cancer-fighting abilities. They confirm that cannabis can successfully treat many types of cancer from prostate cancer to lung, breast, and even brain cancer. Italian researchers reiterated, “[Cannabinoids] have displayed a great potency in reducing glioma tumor growth… without affecting the viability of [healthy cells].”
Today, most of these findings aren’t kept private since conventional treatments can bring fatal side-effects by not making a selection between cancerous and healthy cells. Cannabis on the other hand, affects only the cancerous ones.
In the PBS documentary “Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis” it is explained that cannabis is powerful thanks to the receptors on cells throughout the body.
Researchers discovered that cannabis has found two cannabinoid receptors on cells throughout the body, and marijuana’s cannabinoids present are the crucial ones. They are called CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors are mainly located in the brain but are present in many major organs throughout the body, such as the heart and liver, while the CB2 are located throughout the immune system. When these cells mutate and become cancerous, they no longer die like normal cells, but grow and spread uncontrollably, but they still have their CB2 receptors. These CB2 receptors are like a target for the cannabinoids present in marijuana, so when these compounds act on the receptors, they cause the cancerous cells to “commit suicide”, or in other words they cause apoptosis.
More research is needed to be done to have a complete understanding on how cannabis can truly help cancer patients, but unfortunately the social stigma attached to cannabis has damaged much of the medical research for way too long.