From Compultense University, Madrid April 2009 Cannabinoid action induces autophagy-mediated cell death
“…These findings describe a mechanism by which THC can promote the autophagic death of human and mouse cancer cells and provide evidence that cannabinoid administration may be an effective therapeutic strategy for targeting human cancers”
The most censored news story of the decade! Message from Rob Robinson and Jen Rog of Damn Sam Productions
Visit Rick Simpson’s website for more on cannabis as a cancer cure
See also: Project Censored – U.S. Government Repressed Marijuana-Tumor Research
Pot Shrinks Tumors, Government Knew in ’74
Raymond Cushing, AlterNet
May 30, 2000 |
The term medical marijuana took on dramatic new meaning in February 2000 when researchers in Madrid announced they had destroyed incurable brain cancer tumors in rats by injecting them with THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.
The Madrid study marks only the second time that THC has been administered to tumor-bearing animals; the first was a Virginia investigation 26 years ago. In both studies, the THC shrank or destroyed tumors in a majority of the test subjects.
Most Americans don’t know anything about the Madrid discovery. Virtually no U.S. newspapers carried the story, which ran only once on the AP and UPI news wires, on Feb. 29.
The ominous part is that this isn’t the first time scientists have discovered that THC shrinks tumors. In 1974 researchers at the Medical College of Virginia, who had been funded by the National Institute of Health to find evidence that marijuana damages the immune system, found instead that THC slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice — lung and breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.
The DEA quickly shut down the Virginia study and all further cannabis/tumor research, according to Jack Herer, who reports on the events in his book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes“. In 1976 President Gerald Ford put an end to all public cannabis research and granted exclusive research rights to major pharmaceutical companies, who set out — unsuccessfully — to develop synthetic forms of THC that would deliver all the medical benefits without the “high.”
The Madrid researchers reported in the March issue of “Nature Medicine” that they injected the brains of 45 rats with cancer cells, producing tumors whose presence they confirmed through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). On the 12th day they injected 15 of the rats with THC and 15 with Win-55,212-2 a synthetic compound similar to THC.
“All the rats left untreated uniformly died 12-18 days after glioma (brain cancer) cell inoculation … Cannabinoid (THC)-treated rats survived significantly longer than control rats. THC administration was ineffective in three rats, which died by days 16-18. Nine of the THC-treated rats surpassed the time of death of untreated rats, and survived up to 19-35 days. Moreover, the tumor was completely eradicated in three of the treated rats.” The rats treated with Win-55,212-2 showed similar results.
The Spanish researchers, led by Dr. Manuel Guzman of Complutense University, also irrigated healthy rats’ brains with large doses of THC for seven days, to test for harmful biochemical or neurological effects. They found none.
“Careful MRI analysis of all those tumor-free rats showed no sign of damage related to necrosis, edema, infection or trauma … We also examined other potential side effects of cannabinoid administration. In both tumor-free and tumor-bearing rats, cannabinoid administration induced no substantial change in behavioral parameters such as motor coordination or physical activity. Food and water intake as well as body weight gain were unaffected during and after cannabinoid delivery. Likewise, the general hematological profiles of cannabinoid-treated rats were normal. Thus, neither biochemical parameters nor markers of tissue damage changed substantially during the 7-day delivery period or for at least 2 months after cannabinoid treatment ended.”
Guzman’s investigation is the only time since the 1974 Virginia study that THC has been administered to live tumor-bearing animals. (The Spanish researchers cite a 1998 study in which cannabinoids inhibited breast cancer cell proliferation, but that was a “petri dish” experiment that didn’t involve live subjects.)
In an email interview for this story, the Madrid researcher said he had heard of the Virginia study, but had never been able to locate literature on it. Hence, the Nature Medicine article characterizes the new study as the first on tumor-laden animals and doesn’t cite the 1974 Virginia investigation.
“I am aware of the existence of that research. In fact I have attempted many times to obtain the journal article on the original investigation by these people, but it has proven impossible.” Guzman said.
In 1983 the Reagan/Bush Administration tried to persuade American universities and researchers to destroy all 1966-76 cannabis research work, including compendiums in libraries, reports Jack Herer, who states, “We know that large amounts of information have since disappeared.”
Guzman provided the title of the work — “Antineoplastic activity of cannabinoids,” an article in a 1975 Journal of the National Cancer Institute — and this writer obtained a copy at the UC medical school library in Davis and faxed it to Madrid.
The summary of the Virginia study begins, “Lewis lung adenocarcinoma growth was retarded by the oral administration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN)” — two types of cannabinoids, a family of active components in marijuana. “Mice treated for 20 consecutive days with THC and CBN had reduced primary tumor size.”
The 1975 journal article doesn’t mention breast cancer tumors, which featured in the only newspaper story ever to appear about the 1974 study — in the Local section of the Washington Post on August 18, 1974. Under the headline, “Cancer Curb Is Studied,” it read in part:
“The active chemical agent in marijuana curbs the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice and may also suppress the immunity reaction that causes rejection of organ transplants, a Medical College of Virginia team has discovered.” The researchers “found 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.”
Guzman, writing from Madrid, was eloquent in his response after this writer faxed him the clipping from the Washington Post of a quarter century ago. In translation, he wrote:
“It is extremely interesting to me, the hope that the project seemed to awaken at that moment, and the sad evolution (lastimosa evolucion) of events during the years following the discovery, until now we once again draw back the veil over the anti-tumoral power of THC, twenty-five years later. Unfortunately, the world bumps along between such moments of hope and long periods of intellectual castration.”
News coverage of the Madrid discovery has been virtually nonexistent in this country. The news broke quietly on Feb. 29,  with a story that ran once on the UPI wire about the Nature Medicine article. This writer stumbled on it through a link that appeared briefly on the Drudge Report web page.
The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times all ignored the story, even though its newsworthiness is indisputable: a benign substance occurring in nature destroys deadly brain tumors.
THC treated cells – unhealthy cells commit suicide (autophagy)
has the highest number of lobbyists in DC;
Two for every Congressperson.
Cannabis has in total… one.
Here is a reprint of this story as told by Paul Armentano,
senior policy analyst for the NORML Foundation in Washington, DC. Source
Unlocking a Cure for Cancer – With Pot
Who could imagine that cannabis might one day offer hope as a cure for cancer? The United States government, that’s who.
For the past 30 years, U.S. officials have willfully ignored clinical research indicating that marijuana can inhibit the growth of certain type of malignant tumors. However, the recent publication of a trio of clinical studies and a pair of scientific reviews have effectively blown the lid off “Cancergate,” and revealed that pot’s medical value may be far greater than ever presumed.
THE EMERGING EVIDENCE
Last year, five scientific journals published prominent articles trumpeting cannabinoids (compounds in marijuana) as potential anti-cancer agents.
- Clinical trial data published in January 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Clinical Investigation that found cannabinoids significantly inhibit skin tumor growth in mice. Investigators of the study concluded, “The present data indicate that local cannabinoids administration may constitute an alternative therapeutic approach for the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer.”
- Clinical trial data published in the March 2003 issue of The FASEB Journal that found that the “local administration of a non-psychoactive cannabinoid inhibits angiogenesis (tissue growth) of malignant gliomas (brain tumors).”
- A clinical review in the October 2003 issue of the prestigious journal Nature Reviews Cancer that concluded that cannabinoids’ “favorable drug safety profile” and proven ability to inhibit tumor growth make them desirable agents in the treatment of cancer. According to the review’s author, tumors inhibited by cannabinoids include: lung carcinoma, glioma, thyroid epithelioma, lymphoma/leukemia, skin carcinoma, uterus carcinoma, breast carcinoma, prostate carcinoma, and neuroblastoma (a malignant tumor originating in the autonomic nervous system or the adrenal medulla and occurring chiefly in infants and young children).
- Clinical trial data published in the November 2003 issue of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics that found the administration of the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits the growth of human glioma cells both in vitro (e.g., a petri dish) and in animals in a dose-dependent manner. Investigators concluded, “Non-psychoactive CBD produce[s] a significant antitumor activity both in vitro and in vivo, thus suggesting a possible application of CBD as an antineoplastic agent (something which prevents the growth of malignant cells.)”
- And finally, a clinical review in the December 2003 issue of the journal Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets that summarized “the demonstrated antitumor actions of cannabinoids,” and elaborated on “possible avenues for the future development of cannabinoids as antitumor agents.”
AND SUBSEQUENT MEDIA BLACKOUT
Despite these stunning findings, media coverage of them in North America has been virtually non-existent. As noted by Richard Cowan, editor of the website MarijuanaNews.com, “The New York Times, The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times all ignored this story, even though its newsworthiness is indisputable: a benign substance occurring in nature destroys deadly brain tumors.”
Why the media blackout? For starters, all of these studies were conducted overseas. And secondly, not one of them has been acknowledged by the U.S. government.
U.S. KNEW IN ’74… AND AGAIN IN ’96!
This wasn’t always the case. In fact, the first ever experiment documenting pot’s anti-tumor effects took place in 1974 at the Medical College of Virginia at the behest of the U.S. government. The results of that study, immortalized in an August 18, 1974 Washington Post newspaper feature, were 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.”
Despite these favorable preliminary findings, U.S. government officials banished the study, and refused to fund any follow up research until conducting a similar – though secret – study in the mid-1990s. That study, conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program to the tune of $2 million concluded that mice and rats administered high doses of THC over long periods had greater protection against malignant tumors than untreated controls. However, rather than publicize their findings, government researchers shelved the results – which only became public one year later after a draft copy of its findings were leaked in 1997 to the journal AIDS Treatment News, which in turn forwarded the story to the national media.
Nevertheless, in the nearly eight years since the completion of the National Toxicology trial, the U.S. government has yet to fund a single additional study examining pot’s potential as an anti-cancer agent.
SCIENCE IGNORED NO MORE
Fortunately, researchers at Madrid, Spain’s Complutense University, School of Biology have generously picked up where U.S. researchers so abruptly left off. In 1998, the research team – led by investigator Manuel Guzman – discovered that THC can selectively induce program cell death in brain tumor cells without negatively impacting the surrounding healthy cells. Then in 2000, Guzman’s team reported in the journal Nature Medicine that injections of synthetic THC eradicated malignant gliomas (brain tumors) in one-third of treated rats, and prolonged life in another third by six weeks. A commentary to the study noted that the results were the first to convincingly demonstrate that cannabis-based treatments may successfully combat cancer.
Today, Guzman believes that enough favorable clinical evidence exists supporting pot’s anti-cancer properties to warrant clinical trials in humans. “The scientific community has gained substantial knowledge of the palliative and anti-tumor actions of cannabinoids during the past few years,” Guzman wrote in the October 2003 issue of Nature Reviews Cancer. “Anti-tumor compounds should selectively affect tumor cells [and] it seems that cannabinoids can do this, as they kill [malignant] tumor cells but do not affect their non-transformed counterparts and might even protect them from cell death. … As cannabinoids are relatively safe compounds, it would be desirable that clinical trials using cannabinoids … could accompany [ongoing] laboratory studies to allow us to use these compounds in the treatment of cancer.” Guzman concludes the article by noting that the Spanish Ministry of Health recently approved a human clinical trial – the first ever – aimed at investigating the effects of intracranially administered THC on the life expectancy of volunteers suffering from malignant brain tumors.
“Cannabinoid research continues to show tremendous potential in the treatment of cancer,” summarizes University of Southern California professor Mitch Earleywine, author of the book Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. However, he laments that the “vast majority of this work originates outside the United States, often in countries that lack our economic and scientific advantages. Let’s hope that our drug policy won’t stymie the battle against the second leading cause of death in America.”
Indeed. Let’s not add a potential treatment for cancer to the ever-growing list of victims of pot prohibition.
August 17, 2004
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I smoke pot and I like it by Will Wilkinson of the CATO Institute