Originally published on the Daily Beast.
Marijuana Fights Cancer and Helps Manage Side Effects, Researchers Find
Mounting evidence shows ‘cannabinoids’ in marijuana slow cancer growth, inhibit formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor, and help manage pain, fatigue, nausea, and other side effects.
We have answered the question, What cures all cancer?… Cannabis therapeutics.Now I have another question; What is the cause of all cancer? Show me the science.Today we know the cause of all cancer… sugar. And today we have the science.
Scientists reveal the relationship between sugar, cancer
A nine-year joint research project has led to a crucial breakthrough in cancer research. Scientists have clarified how the Warburg effect, a phenomenon in which cancer cells rapidly break down sugars, stimulates tumor growth. This discovery provides evidence for a positive correlation between sugar and cancer, which may have far-reaching impacts on tailor-made diets for cancer patients.
How It Works
There is a plentiful supply of research articles and personal testaments that show the efficacy of cannabis effecting cancer remission. However, only a few point to the mechanism by which the cancer cells die. To understand this better we need to know what metabolic processes provide life to the cells.
There are two structures in most cells that sustain life; one is the mitochondria, and the other is the endoplasmic reticulum. The mitochondria primarily produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that provides the necessary energy. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a loosely bound envelope around the cell nucleus that synthesizes metabolites and proteins directed by the nuclear DNA that nourish and sustain the cell.
Let us look first at tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and observe that THC is a natural fit for the CB1 cannabinoid receptor on the cancer cell surface. When THC hits the receptor, the cell generates ceramide that disrupts the mitochondria, closing off energy for the cell. Disruption of the mitochondria releases cytochrome c and reactive oxygen species into the cytosol, hastening cell death. It is notable that this process is specific to cancer cells. Healthy cells have no reaction to THC at the CB1 receptor. The increase in ceramide also disrupts calcium metabolism in the mitochondria, completing the demise to cell death.
The other cannabinoid we know is effective in killing cancer cells is cannabidiol (CBD). The primary job of CBD in the cancer cell is to disrupt the endoplasmic reticulum through wrecking of the calcium metabolism, pushing calcium into the cytosol. This always results in cell death. Another pathway for CBD to effect cancer cell death is the Caspase Cascade, which breaks down proteins and peptides in the cell. When this happens the cell cannot survive. Again, these processes are specific to cancer cells, no normal cells are affected. To top it all off, CBD disrupts the IL-1 gene, inhibiting growth and spread of the cancer.
The Entourage Effect
The most important concept in cannabis therapeutics is the entourage effect. In this path to healing, multiple agents act to efficiently eliminate cancer cells. We know that THC is more potent when CBD is present (and vice versa). We know that THC and CBD are more potent when terpenes and flavonoids are present. This is called whole plant entourage. We can compare entourage treatment with synthetic single cannabinoids to see the clinical difference. To ensure the most efficient and effective treatment for cancer 1:1 THC:CBD from whole plant is recommended.
Green Haze marijuana plant
From Paul Armentano for Alternet:
Legal cannabis access is associated with numerous favorable public health outcomes. Here are just a few of them.
FEWER OPIOID DEATHS
Changes in the legal status of cannabis is associated with significant reductions in opioid-related mortality. Data published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that medical cannabis regulation is associated with year-over-year declines in overall opioid-related mortality, including heroin overdose deaths. Specifically, medicalization states experienced a 20 percent decrease in opioid deaths as compared to non-medicalized states within one year. This decrease climbed to 33 percent by year six. Other studies have separately linked the establishment of both dispensaries and adult use retailers with reductions in opioid deaths. Traffic fatalities involving opioid-positive drivers has also fallen in states that have implemented medical marijuana laws.
FEWER OPIOID-RELATED HOSPITALIZATIONS
Here is a section about Cannabis’ effect on opioid dependence from 2009 that has now been removed from the Medical Cannabis article on Wikipedia. The only mention of “opioids” in presently is: “the use [of medical cannabis for pain] appears safer than that of opioids.”
Injections of THC eliminate dependence on opiates in stressed rats, according to a research team at the Laboratory for Physiopathology of Diseases of the Central Nervous System (France) in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. Deprived of their mothers at birth, rats become hypersensitive to the rewarding effect of morphine and heroin (substances belonging to the opiate family), and rapidly become dependent. When these rats were administered THC, they no longer developed typical morphine-dependent behavior. In the striatum, a region of the brain involved in drug dependence, the production of endogenous enkephalins was restored under THC, whereas it diminished in rats stressed from birth which had not received THC. Researchers believe the findings could lead to therapeutic alternatives to existing substitution treatments.
In humans, drug treatment subjects who use cannabis intermittently are found to be more likely to adhere to treatment for opioid dependence. Historically, similar findings were reported by Clendinning, who in 1843 utilized cannabis substitution for the treatment of alcoholism and opium addiction and Birch, in 1889, who reported success in treating opiate and chloral addiction with cannabis.
From The Fix
Marijuana As Opiate Deterrent?
*First of all, I would just like to say that I am reporting what I have found on this topic and sharing my thoughts with you from a neutral point of view. I am not pro-legalize marijuana or against. If anything, I come to you as a man in recovery a little skeptical about the claims that I read which caused me to investigate this further. With that being said, let’s begin.
I don’t know about you all, but when I first saw the words “States that legalized Medical Marijuana had 25% fewer opioid-related deaths!” by the company Weedsmap. I chuckled to myself and said now that’s a brilliant marketing strategy. Then reminded myself a drug, is a drug, is a drug like I have had pounded into my brain through my many years at and in recovery and went about my day.
I have to admit though that phrase has been kicking around in the back of my head for three days now. So tonight I thought I might do a little research of my own. Holy smokes seems appropriate right about now because there is just from my searching over some 170 articles out there on the topic and a few bonafide studies that have been conducted that blew me right out of the water here.
Let’s start with challenging my current recovery beliefs with this new information and see if by doing so it does not cause you to do the same. So what if a drug, is a drug, is a drug, but one of those drugs is showing amazing medical benefits. And is lowering the deaths of those addicted to opiates by some 25% just to scratch the surface. Has been legalized in several states, and has shown to not increase drug use any, but some may say through these findings helps to reduce it. Would that drug then become an acceptable form of Opioid Replacement Therapy (ORT)?
Would we be able to sit in our chosen recovery support meetings and gladly honor someone celebrating their clean time if they are smoking medical marijuana as an ORT? Good question huh? At first, I was immediately on the defensive as my years of being drilled in the art of recovery came to the forefront of my mind to defend their hard-earned beliefs. But then as the days passed by my mind began to open and I have been allowed to think on the subject objectively and without prejudice.
Let me share with you a few of the facts that I have found regarding the claim I saw on the billboard that day, and let you come up with your own conclusion. First, I found a study that was conducted by professionals from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Philadelphia Veterans Medical Center.
Their findings although not earth-shattering, but promising, stated in a nutshell that they believe if medical marijuana were made widely available to treat pain that it is possible to see a drop in the percentage of opioid-related deaths.
For one reason, opiate prescriptions would be widely replaced with medical marijuana in some form. Whether the traditional, or topical, edible or in liquid, And to date, as far as my research has found. There has not been one overdose-related death linked to marijuana in any form.
Secondly, Yuyan Shi authored the findings from a University of San Diego study which found that in states with legalized medical marijuana the number of people being hospitalized for opioid addiction or dependence dropped on average 23%. While the number of opiate-related overdoses treated in those states Hospital Emergency Rooms dropped on average 13%. There is an article to back up all my findings here.
Dr. Esther Choo from the Oregon Health and Science University says, “It is becoming increasingly clear that battling the opioid epidemic will require a multi-pronged approach and a good deal of creativity.” “Could increased liberalization of marijuana be part of the solution?” It seems plausible she was quoted as saying. She closed with “there is still much we need to understand about the mechanisms through which marijuana policy may affect opioid use and harms.”
Any thoughts yet? I have a couple, now that I have found what I read on the billboard to be a little misleading, but there is definitely some truth to their claims. I believe that we are fighting one of the fiercest enemies the United States of America has ever had to contend with in the OpiodeEpedemic. I believe that it is going to take some either unconventional or maybe even unheard of therapy’s added to the ones we are currently using to become victorious in this war.
In 2015 the Center for Disease Control estimates that we lost over 33,000 people to opiate-related deaths. I did the simple math that works out to 90.41 deaths a day! This should not be so, and if by allowing people to use marijuana to relieve pain vs taking opiates works to lower that number even by 1. Then I will gladly honor all of those folks clean time in recovery if that is helping them, Will You?
*Jama Internal Medicine full study report on these findings if you care to inquire.
About the Author: Marc is a 48-year-old Author, Speaker, and Soldier in a war to loosen the grasp that Substance Abuse has on our society. He is a Father, Son, and friend to all those seeking refuge from this incorrigible disease. Marc resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where he enjoys, writing, hiking, and kicking the disease of addiction in the teeth, every chance he gets. As Marc always likes to say, “be blessed, my friends!”
An embattled pharmaceutical company that sells the powerful painkiller fentanyl has donated $500,000 toward defeating a ballot initiative that would make recreational use of marijuana legal under Arizona law.
It’s hard to imagine a more sinister donor than Insys Therapeutics Inc. in the eyes of pot legalization proponents, who long have claimed drug companies want to keep cannabis illegal to corner the market for drugs, some addictive and dangerous, that relieve pain and other symptoms.
Insys currently markets just one product, according to an August filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission: a sublingual fentanyl spray it calls Subsys.
Two former company employees pleaded not guilty last month to federal charges related to an alleged kickback scheme to get doctors to prescribe Subsys.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit late last month against the company alleging Insys hawked the drug to doctors for off-label prescribing, saying the company’s “desire for increased profits led it to disregard patients’ health and push addictive opioids for non-FDA approved purposes.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid significantly more potent than heroin that can cause overdoses, especially when it’s used to cut the supply of illegally sourced drugs. The musician Prince died from an accidental fentanyl overdose in April.
Insys made its large contribution to the anti-legalization campaign group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy on Aug. 31, according to information posted online by the Arizona secretary of state’s office.
Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy campaign manager Adam Deguire tells U.S. News that legalization foes will not return the donation. In a statement he expressed gratitude and stressed that Insys is based in Arizona, unlike the Marijuana Policy Project, which has contributed substantially toward passing the initiative.
A voicemail requesting comment from Insys was not immediately returned.
Advocates for the marijuana legalization initiative Proposition 205, which is up 10 percentage points in a poll released Wednesday by the Arizona Republic, condemned the donation.
J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the initiative-backing Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said in a statement that “we are truly shocked by our opponents’ decision to keep a donation from what appears to be one of the more unscrupulous members of Big Pharma.”
Holyoak said: “Our opponents have made a conscious decision to associate with this company. They are now funding their campaign with profits from the sale of opioids – and maybe even the improper sale of opioids. We hope that every Arizonan understands that Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy is now a complete misnomer. Their entire campaign is tainted by this money. Any time an ad airs against Prop. 205, the voters should know that it was paid for by highly suspect Big Pharma actors.”
From 2011 through at least last year, Insys also sold a second product: a generic equivalent to Marinol, a synthetic version of the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which the Food and Drug Administration allows for treatment of cancer and HIV-related symptoms like nausea and loss of appetite, which cannabis advocates say the raw plant material can treat without a corporate middleman. Insys said in its August filing it has no plans to resume those sales, though it is preparing a similar drug.
Marijuana legalization supporters say legal access to cannabis, which does not cause overdose deaths, could help combat overuse of medicine that serves as an on-ramp to potentially life-destroying addictions.
Johns Hopkins University researchers concluded in 2014, after studying the effects of state medical marijuana laws through 2010, that “medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates.”
Currently, 25 states have laws allowing residents to use marijuana as medicine, though the plant remains a federally illegal Schedule I substance, which is defined as having no accepted medical value.
The Obama administration has allowed states broad leeway to regulate sales of marijuana for recreational or medical use, despite federal prohibition, and major-party presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have indicated they would pursue a similar approach.
Arizona voters legalized medical marijuana in an initiative that won by about a 4,000-vote margin in 2010, and supporters of this year’s legalization initiative expect the ultimate vote to be close again, perhaps the closest of the five states – including Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California – that also will consider joining the four pioneering pot legalization states and the nation’s capital in November.
Pro-legalization campaign spokesman Barrett Marson says if the other side has any shame they will return Insys’ donation, which is far and away the largest received by opponents to date.
Updated on Sept. 8, 2016: Comment from Adam Deguire was added to this article.
In the land of the free, citizens found in possession of a plant — that grows wild on every continent except Antarctica — can and will be kidnapped, caged or killed. In fact, in just the short time it took you to click this article and read this first paragraph, someone was just arrested for cannabis.
According to the most recent FBI statistics available, an American citizen is kidnapped and caged for cannabis — on average — every 48 seconds.
An estimated 653,249 American citizens — who harmed no one — had their lives ruined in 2016 for possessing this plant, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Crime In the United States (CIUS) report.
“Arresting and citing over half a million people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty,” said Morgan Fox, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Despite a steady shift in public opinion away from marijuana prohibition, and the growing number of states that are regulating marijuana like alcohol, marijuana consumers continue to be treated like criminals throughout the country. This is a shameful waste of resources and can create lifelong consequences for the people arrested.”
Arresting people for cannabis is good for business — police state and big pharma business, that is. If we look at who’s lobbying to keep cops kidnapping people for a plant, we see that it is money, and not morals, that motivates this issue.
The prison-industrial complex makes obscene amounts of money kidnapping otherwise innocent people and throwing them in a cage for possessing a plant. Big pharma is also scared to death of pot because it is a cheaper, safer, and often more effective solution to sicknesses than their chemical alternatives.
According to a report out of US News, lobbyists work hard to secure for police departments millions of dollars in federal grants towards eradicating weed. Pharmaceutical companies compensate leading anti-marijuana researchers in order to keep their customers on painkillers over cannabis, which is cheaper. The prison-industrial complex would like to keep making money on building more prisons to fill with non-violent grass-smokers.
It’s not just cops and big pharma either, legal drug distributors in the alcohol and tobacco industries need to keep cannabis illegal in order maintain their monopoly on ‘taking the edge off.’
According to the report, the alcohol and beer industries have also lobbied for years to keep marijuana illegal because they fear the competition that legalized weed would bring. Howard Wooldridge, an anti-drug war activist and retired cop told the online publication Republic Report: “Marijuana and alcohol compete right today as a product to take the edge off the day at six o’clock.”
Despite the myriad of evidence showing the harmful economic and societal impacts of arresting people for cannabis, cops, prisons, big pharma, and the alcohol and tobacco industries continue to push for illegal weed. As they lie about arresting people for a plant in your best interests, the police state is wreaking havoc on liberty, freedom, and the economy. It is deadly too.
While there’s never been a documented overdose from cannabis, if the CDC calculated the number of deaths inflicted by police while enforcing marijuana laws, that number would certainly be shocking and could even be deemed a risk to public health. Marijuana is, indeed, dangerous, but only because of what can happen to you if the police catch you with it — just ask the 653,249 people who had their lives ruined for it last year.
Nothing highlights the hypocrisy, immorality, and sheer idiocy of the drug war quite like marijuana prohibition. Here we have a medicine that kills cancer cells, saves the lives of countless epileptic children, heals broken bones, relieves pain, treats PTSD, is not dangerous, and exhibits a variety of other incredible benefits – yet the state will kill you over it.
Keeping cannabis illegal also creates more crime.
In the study, titled, “Going to pot? The impact of dispensary closures on crime,” researchers Tom Y. Chang from the USC Marshall School of Business, and Mireille Jacobson from The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine, looked at what happens with the government forced medical marijuana dispensaries to close. What they found was immediately following a closure of a dispensary — crime rates went up.
“Contrary to popular wisdom, we found an immediate increase in crime around dispensaries ordered to close relative to those allowed to remain open,” Jacobson told Science Daily.
Also, in 2001, the Portuguese government decriminalized all drugs, and their crime rate dropped. 16 years later, drug use, crime, and overdoses have drastically declined in Portugal exposing the cruel reality of prohibition.
“Regulating marijuana for adults creates jobs, generates tax revenue, protects consumers, and takes money away from criminals,” Fox said on behalf of MPP. “It is time for the federal government and the rest of the states to stop ruining peoples’ lives and enact sensible marijuana policies.”
The good news is that the tide is shifting. As MPP notes, there are currently eight states that regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol for adults, four of which voted to do so in November 2016. Marijuana possession is also legal for adults in the District of Columbia. Twenty-three states and D.C. considered legislation in 2017 to regulate marijuana, including in Vermont where the legislature approved such a measure before the governor vetoed it.
As more and more states refuse to kidnap and cage marijuana users, the drug war will continue to implode. We must be resilient in this fight.
If doing drugs bothers you, don’t do drugs. When you transition from holding an opinion — to using government violence to enforce your personal preference, you become the bad guy. Please, for all that is good, don’t be the bad guy and do your part to stay on the right side of history.