Does cannabis treat cancer? Does cannabis kill cancer cells? Does it cure cancer?
THC Magazine posed those questions, in that order, to one of the most knowledgeable people on Earth: Dr. Robert Melamede, a University of Colorado biology professor and world-renowned cannabis researcher.
We also painstakingly reviewed dozens of preclinical studies on cannabis. Our goal is to understand whether cannabis could be the kiss of death for cancer, a panacea for the most feared diseases on the planet.
There is no question that marijuana treats cancer symptoms, such as pain, inflammation, and nausea. The database for the National Institutions of Health has more than enough peer-reviewed studies to support this conclusion.
So let’s move on. Life is short. No need to beat around the bush.
In studies of lab tissue cultures, and preclinical trials with animals, particularly mice, the NIH medical publishers database also offers plenty of evidence that cannabis kills cancer cells while protecting normal cells.
Now for the Big Question: Does cannabis cure cancer in people?
A Miracle Cure?
“I’ve seen cures occur,” Dr. Bob said. “The most obvious ones are with skin cancer,” notably two types – basel and squamous cell carcinoma. Here, however, is where the NIH pub-med database fails.
There’s not one clinical trial of cannabis and skin cancer. Or cannabis and any other cancer. No surprise that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved cannabis for the treatment of any known medical condition.
“Topical application of Rick Simpson oil, basically, on a variety of skin cancers is very effective,” Dr. Bob said. “Once you see that happen a few times, you don’t particularly care if it’s gone through a clinical trial, especially if you’re one of those persons.”
Clinical studies on cannabis and people for decades focused on the potential dangers, and only more recently, the plant’s ability to treat cancer symptoms, but not the disease itself.
Without any clinical trials, the evidence that cannabis cures cancer in people is almost entirely anecdotal, stories from medical marijuana patients who insist they benefitted from the plant.
“There are over 900 peer-reviewed articles showing that cannabinoids, in one form or another – phyto from the plant, endo from within, synthetics – that these cannabinoids have cancer-killing capacity,” said Dr. Bob.
How significant are those preclinical studies with tissue cultures and lab animals?
“How much evidence do you need to suggest that this is powerful stuff?” Dr. Bob asked. “Instead the morons around the world and in our government say, “Oh, we can’t study it properly,’ or ‘It’s too dangerous’ or ‘What about the children?’ …
“I’ve seen cannabis treat leukemias, lymphomas, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer. But it doesn’t mean it works on all of those all the time. I’ve seen successes with those various cancers, and I’ve also seen failures,” he said.
In one of the most recent preclinical studies, cannabis was also found effective against colon cancer.
Researchers outside of the U.S., notably in Spain and Israel, are apparently confirming that cannabinoids destroy cancer cells in humans. Similar research on people has been impossible in America since the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, which classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug with no known medical use and a high potential for abuse.
So is it possible to know if cannabis is a potential miracle cure? There is a compelling puzzle to this piece. It’s called the endogenous cannabinoid system – more commonly referred to as the endocannabinoid system, which exists in all animal life.
By Rick Macey
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