Cannabis Can Reduce Tumor Growth
There is an increasing body of evidence that cannabis can halt tumor growth. One of the earlier studies was conducted by Harvard researchers back in 2007, and is also one of the most established trials to be done on the subject.
The researchers found that when THC was administered to mice with implanted lung cancer tumors, these tumors shrunk in half after just three weeks. Lesions were also reduced in the mice subjects. The researchers initially tested the impact of the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol on cancer cells in laboratory experiments then they eventually followed it up by testing it on mice. According to the lab findings, THC was effective in impeding the growth as well as the spread of cancer cells. According to Anju Preet, PhD, “When the cells are pretreated with THC, they have less EGFR stimulated invasion as measured by various in-vitro assays.”
The researchers think that THC is beneficial for preventing tumor growth because of its ability to activate molecules that stop the cell’s life cycle. There is also a possibility that THC interferes with vascularization and angiogenesis, two processes in the human body which contribute to the growth of cancer cells.
Another study conducted by the Complutense University in Spain in 2009 found that THC is effective in killing brain cancer cells through a function called autophagy. The Spanish researchers found that when they gave THC to mice with implanted human tumors, autophagy was initiated and as a result the tumor growths were reduced. Additionally, two human patients who were suffering from aggressive tumor growth in their brain also displayed signs of autophagy after they received THC through intracranial administration.
The study, which was co-led by the University of Anglia in the UK, says that they’ve found a way that THC could reduce tumors, a method that was previously unknown to the scientific community. According to Dr. Peter McCormick from the University of Anglia, “THC, the major active component of marijuana, has anti-cancer properties. This compound is known to act through a specific family of cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors.” The team is still unsure of which receptor has played the most vital role in shrinking tumors.
Dr. McCormick also adds that there is a lot of interest in understanding the role of molecular mechanisms in the impact of marijuana on cancer, not to mention the fact that pharmaceutical companies are trying to replicate the anti-cancer properties of cannabis by creating synthetic versions. Dr. McCormick adds, “By identifying the receptors involved we have provided an important step towards the future development of therapeutics that can take advantage of the interactions we have discovered to reduce tumor growth.”
Straight From The Horse’s Mouth
Last year, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) updated the FAQ page on their website which now publicly features studies on cannabis and its ability to kill cancer cells. The NCI is an agency sponsored by the federal government. Spot the irony.
Aside from that, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a research agency that is also funded by the government, has also quietly admitted that cannabis extracts can reduce cancer cells and even kill specific cancer cells. On its website, NIDA clearly states “Evidence from one cell culture study suggests that purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors.” NIDA’s statement acknowledges the findings of a 2014 study published in Molecular Cancer Therapies conducted by St. George’s University in London.
According to the researchers, THC and cannabidiol was able to cause “dramatic reductions” in glioma tumors in mice subjects. Glioma is responsible for 80% of humans who have malignant brain tumors. Dr. Wai Lu, a lead author of the study, wrote an opinion piece on the Washington Post about it last year stating “We've shown that cannabinoids could play a role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers in adults.”
Despite these so-called breakthroughs in part of the American government, they’re actually putting up a smokescreen. The government has known since 1974 that cannabis can kill cancer.
In 1974, a study conducted by the Medical College of Virginia revealed that 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,” as indicated in an August 18, 1974 feature by the Washington Post. When the government found out about it, they didn’t really do anything about it and kept the results hidden until a draft copy of its results was somehow leaked, and the news made its way to the AIDS Treatment News medical journal. Then the media had a field day.