USA — Marijuana opponents in the federal government are up against the wall and the wall is crumbling. The feds have fought marijuana use for decades, disregarding its medicinal applications, in a senseless war against the herb.
The demonized killer weed is turning out to be anything but that. As myths about this ancient herb are dispelled, scientists are using it to treat everything from chemotherapy-induced nausea to different cancers.
In August, The British Journal of Cancer published the results of a study that found THC (the main active component in marijuana) is effective in fighting prostate cancer. Reportedly, pot attacks prostate cancer cell types that do not respond to the usual hormone treatments.
A recent study by a team of Spanish researchers discovered THC kills various brain cancer cells by a process known as autophagy. Michigan’s new law regarding marijuana use went into effect in April. Patients, with doctor’s prescriptions, get a state-issued ID Card (a lot like California’s) which allows them to grow and use marijuana to treat pain and other symptoms of cancer and multiple sclerosis.
In October 2003, the University of California, San Francisco, released the results of a study that said pot was effective when used in combination with opiate pain medications. Dr. Donald Abrams, MD, UCSF professor of Clinical Medicine and chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at SF General Hospital Medical Center, told the press, “Marijuana uses a different mechanism than opiates and could augment the pain relief of opiate analgesics.”
The Marijuana Policy Project recently reported on a study that suggests moderate amounts of marijuana use reduces risk of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). This study suggests cannabinoids have potential anti-tumor properties.
A study released in July, “White matter in adolescents with history of marijuana use and binge drinking,” says marijuana use actually protects brain cells. The study involved adolescents with alcohol use disorders.
One group had just alcohol-drinking teens. The other group drank alcohol and used marijuana. The report said that binge drinkers who used marijuana retained more white matter than the other group. In other words, alcohol destroyed more brain cells when a person didn’t use marijuana.
How many times have you heard someone say, “Pot destroys your brain cells”? If that’s true, what about this study? Why do doctors use marijuana to fight brain cancer if it destroys brain cells? Remember the Spanish study?
In April of 2007, Harvard University researchers released the results of a study that concluded THC cuts tumor growth in common lung cancers and reduces the ability of the cancer to spread.
A study conducted by UCLA’s medical school in June 2005 concluded smoking marijuana did not cause lung cancer. That impressive piece of news, along with the Harvard study, seems to have been ignored by most mass media outlets.
Fred Gardner, editor of the medical marijuana research journal, O’Shaughnessy’s, recently wrote an article, “Smoking Marijuana Does Not Cause Cancer,” about this groundbreaking UCLA study that barely made headlines.
Gardner reported that an investigative team was contracted with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2002 “to conduct a large, population-based, case-controlled study that would prove definitively that heavy, long-term marijuana use increases the risk of lung and upper-airway cancers.”
Guess what? This study backfired! It turned out that increased marijuana use did not result in higher rates of lung and pharyngeal cancer. The study also concluded that tobacco smokers who also puffed on pot were at a slightly lower risk of getting lung cancer than those who didn’t!
Perhaps the icing on the cake is the fact that UCLA Medical professor Donald Tashkin led the investigation. Tashkin has led government studies on marijuana since the 1970s and is well known for his belief that heavy marijuana use causes lung and upper-airway cancers. To his credit as a professional, he ended up disproving his own original hypothesis.
Despite the government’s efforts to keep it illegal, it’s apparent that marijuana does offer help in the battle to treat cancer. The facts about marijuana’s medical potentials are finally causing cracks in the government’s wall of lies built up over the years.
As It Stands, it’s time to bring down that wall.
Dave Stancliff is a columnist for The Times-Standard. He is a former newspaper editor and publisher.
By Dave Stancliff,