Come, Look, See…

Study: THC in Marijuana Cuts Cancer Risk in Half
April 19, 2007, 7:03 pm
Filed under: Drugs, Science

A recent study at Harvard found that marijuana use is helpful in reducing the growth of cancerous tumors. The reason? THC. The compund responsible for the “high” in marijuana was found to significantly reduce the growth of lung tumors by almost half! The animal studies conducted also found that THC is effective in preventing the spread of cancer.

This is not to say that smoking is harmless – many cigarette and marijuana smokers will attest to the fact that smoke in your lungs can cause many other ailments such as chronic cough, asthma and emphesyma.

That said, this study adds to the list of others which have found that THC is in fact beneficial. Personally, these studies further lend creedence to my belief that marijuana is in fact a miracle drug.

Read the full press release below.

Press Release
Source: American Association for Cancer Research
Date: April 17, 2007

The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.

They say this is the first set of experiments to show that the compound, Δ-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), inhibits EGF-induced growth and migration in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing non-small cell lung cancer cell lines. Lung cancers that over-express EGFR are usually highly aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy.

THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.

“The beauty of this study is that we are showing that a substance of abuse, if used prudently, may offer a new road to therapy against lung cancer,” said Anju Preet, Ph.D., a researcher in the Division of Experimental Medicine.

Acting through cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, endocannabinoids (as well as THC) are thought to play a role in variety of biological functions, including pain and anxiety control, and inflammation. Although a medical derivative of THC, known as Marinol, has been approved for use as an appetite stimulant for cancer patients, and a small number of U.S. states allow use of medical marijuana to treat the same side effect, few studies have shown that THC might have anti-tumor activity, Preet says. The only clinical trial testing THC as a treatment against cancer growth was a recently completed British pilot study in human glioblastoma.

In the present study, the researchers first demonstrated that two different lung cancer cell lines as well as patient lung tumor samples express CB1 and CB2, and that non-toxic doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cell lines. “When the cells are pretreated with THC, they have less EGFR stimulated invasion as measured by various in-vitro assays,” Preet said.

Then, for three weeks, researchers injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells, and found that tumors were reduced in size and weight by about 50 percent in treated animals compared to a control group. There was also about a 60 percent reduction in cancer lesions on the lungs in these mice as well as a significant reduction in protein markers associated with cancer progression, Preet says.

Although the researchers do not know why THC inhibits tumor growth, they say the substance could be activating molecules that arrest the cell cycle. They speculate that THC may also interfere with angiogenesis and vascularization, which promotes cancer growth.

Preet says much work is needed to clarify the pathway by which THC functions, and cautions that some animal studies have shown that THC can stimulate some cancers. “THC offers some promise, but we have a long way to go before we know what its potential is,” she said.


Good Reason to Stick to Pot
April 4, 2007, 4:06 am
Filed under: Drugs

Too weird not to post. The title of the video says it all.
Crazy girl hardcore dancing in Tokyo.

Drugs and Toxicity
March 25, 2007, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Drugs

This chart is from an article by Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic on the toxicity of drugs. The chart represents the level of toxicity for a few of them. The numbers represent how many more doses you would need to take of a drug to die, in relation to its effective dose. For heroin to be lethal it would only take a dose of about 5 more times its point of effectiveness. Not surprisingly, marijuana takes more than 1,000 doses for it to kill you. Read the article here.

Marijuana NOT a major Cancer risk, studies find…
February 23, 2007, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Drugs

I was reading an article today about an organization called Americans for Safe Access (ASA) which has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human services. In a nutshell, this organization represents patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens who advocate the safe use of and access to medical marijuana. ASA’s suit claims that the government is using taxpayers money to disseminate false information about the ‘dangers’ of marijuana, much of which is presented in direct contradiction to scientific findings.

This isn’t breaking news by any means. It’s widely known that the government has largely failed on its war on drugs and Nancy Regan’s ‘Just Say No’ campaign in the ’80’s correlated with an increase drug use among adolescent individuals. Despite the obvious failure, our government continues to spend taxpayer money on trying to convince the public that marijuana can and will lead to an awful case of Reefer Madness.

All of this brouhaha got me thinking about a couple of articles I read a couple of years back which went largely unnoticed, (surprisingly). One of the articles spoke about a study of 2,200 people in Los Angeles which found that marijuana users were no more likely than nonusers to develop lung, head or neck cancers. Another article from 2005, also described a study which had found no cancer risk resulting from marijuana use – even in multiple, daily users. In fact, both of these studies found evidence implicating THC as a potentially cancer-PREVENTING chemical. Because I haven’t read the actual published articles for these studies (something I plan to do in the near future) I cannot vouch for the reliability and validity or the overall statistical design of these studies. Nonetheless, these PEER-REVIEWED and PUBLISHED articles are reporting a common finding – that marijuana use and cancer don’t correlate. Granted, smoke in your lungs is smoke in your lungs – no matter which way you look at it – and can itself cause its own medical problems. For example, respiratory problems and chronic cough are all a result of heavy smoke inhalation regardless of whether you’re inhaling cigarette or marijuana smoke – but for our own government to ignore science (i.s. see Global Warming) altogether is unacceptable.

I myself am not only an advocate of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, but I am also of the field who believes marijuana as a whole should be legal and taxed just as nicotine and alcohol are today.

Below I provide both of the articles in question. Please feel free to forward this post on or copy and paste these articles to your friends. It’s information well worth being exposed to.

Marijuana not a major cancer risk, says study
by Amy Norton,
Reuters News Agency
Oct. 26, 2005

Although both marijuana and tobacco smoke are packed with cancer- causing chemicals, other qualities of marijuana seem to keep it from promoting lung cancer, according to a new report.

The difference rests in the often opposing actions of the nicotine in tobacco and the active ingredient, THC, in marijuana, says Dr. Robert Melamede of the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

He reviewed the scientific evidence supporting this contention in a recent issue of Harm Reduction Journal.

Whereas nicotine has several effects that promote lung and other types of cancer, THC acts in ways that counter the cancer-causing chemicals in marijuana smoke, Melamede explained in an interview with Reuters Health.

“THC turns down the carcinogenic potential,” he said.

For example, lab research indicates that nicotine activates a body enzyme that converts certain chemicals in both tobacco and marijuana smoke into cancer-promoting form. In contrast, studies in mice suggest that THC blocks this enzyme activity.

Another key difference, Melamede said, is in the immune system effects of tobacco and marijuana. Smoke sends irritants into the respiratory system that trigger an immune-regulated inflammatory response, which involves the generation of potentially cell-damaging substances called free radicals. These particles are believed to contribute to a range of diseases, including cancer.

But cannabinoids — both those found in marijuana and the versions found naturally in the body — have been shown to dial down this inflammatory response, Melamede explained.

Another difference between tobacco and marijuana smoking, he said, has to do with cells that line the respiratory tract. While these cells have receptors that act as docks for nicotine, similar receptors for THC and other cannabinoids have not been found.

Nicotine, Melamede said, appears to keep these cells from committing “suicide” when they are genetically damaged, by smoking, for instance. When such cells do not kill themselves off, they are free to progress into tumors.

THC, however, does not appear to act this way in the respiratory tract — though, in the brain, where there are cannabinoid receptors, it may have the beneficial effect of protecting cells from death when they are damaged from an injury or stroke, according to Melamede.

All of this, he said, fits in with population studies that have failed to link marijuana smoking with a higher risk of lung cancer — though there is evidence that pot users have more respiratory problems, such as chronic cough and frequent respiratory infections.

If marijuana does not promote lung cancer, that could factor into the ongoing debate over so-called medical marijuana. Melamede said he believes “marijuana has loads of medicinal value,” for everything from multiple sclerosis, to the chronic pain of arthritis, to nausea caused by cancer treatment.

U.S. government officials, however, maintain that the evidence for medical marijuana is not there. Ten states allow people to use marijuana with a doctor’s prescription, but the Supreme Court has ruled that federal law trumps state law.


Marijuana Cancer Risk Played Down
By Heather Burke, Bloomberg News
Source: Boston Globe
May 24, 2006

New York — People who smoke marijuana may be at less risk of developing lung cancer than tobacco smokers, according to a study presented yesterday.
The study of 2,200 people in Los Angeles found that even heavy marijuana smokers were no more likely to develop lung, head, or neck cancer than nonusers, in contrast with tobacco users, whose risk increases the more they smoke.

The findings seemed to be a surprise; marijuana smoke has some of the same cancer-causing substances as tobacco smoke, often in higher concentrations, said the senior researcher, Donald Tashkin, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. One possible explanation is that THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, a key ingredient in marijuana not present in tobacco, may inhibit tumor growth, he said.

“You can’t give marijuana a completely clean bill of health,” said Tashkin, who planned a presentation of the study yesterday before the American Thoracic Society. “I wouldn’t give any smoke substance a clean bill of health. All you can say is we haven’t been able to confirm our suspicions that marijuana might be a risk factor for lung and head and neck cancer.”

About 1,200 adults under 60 with cancer of the lung, tongue, mouth, throat, or esophagus, took part in the study, as well as about 1,000 without cancer. The study ran from 1999 to 2003.

Marijuana use was found to have been no greater or less in any of the groups, 44 percent of those with lung cancer, 41 percent with head or neck cancers, and 42 percent of those without cancer, Tashkin said.

Other studies had suggested that marijuana smoking was a risk factor for cancer, Tashkin said. Marijuana smokers inhale more deeply than tobacco smokers, and often hold the smoke in their lungs more than four times longer, depositing more tar, he said.

The results of Tashkin’s study corroborated some earlier research, said Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which advocates legalizing marijuana use. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, Tashkin said.

Note: Tobacco is called a bigger threat.

Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Author: Heather Burke, Bloomberg News
Published: May 24, 2006
Copyright: 2006 Globe Newspaper Company

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