Cannabis and cancer

Dr. MMJ offers an opinion on treatment claims and government research

Cannabis Therapeutic

treatments are emerging and gaining acceptance across the globe, but with no FDA approval or large scale double blind studies done in the USA to fall back on where does one go for reliable information about these treatments? There is respected science about these issues coming from Israel, England and other parts of the world but very little from here at home.

This is because the United States government contends that cannabis is a substance with no accepted medical use. This assertion is made even though since 1974 the government has been in possession of scientific evidence that Cannabis can shrink cancerous tumors.

Below is an excerpt from a patent issued by the same U.S. Government to GW Pharma, an England-based pharmaceutical giant, for phytocannabinoids in the treatment of cancer. Phytocannabinoids are plant based cannabinoids as opposed to  synthetic cannabinoids like marinol or the endogenous cannabinoids found naturally in all mammals.   

Phytocannabinoids in the treatment of cancer

US 20130059018 A1


This invention relates to the use of phytocannabinoids, either in an isolated form or in the form of a botanical drug substance (BDS) in the treatment of cancer. Preferably the cancer to be treated is cancer of the prostate, cancer of the breast or cancer of the colon.


Cancer is a class of diseases which occurs because cells become immortalized; they fail to heed customary signals to turn off growth which is a normal function of remodelling in the body that requires cells to die on cue. Programmed cell death can become defective and when this happens malignant transformation can take place. The immortalized cells grow beyond their normal limits and invade adjacent tissues. The malignant cells may also metastasize and spread to other locations in the body via the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Cancer cells often form a mass known as a tumor.

Cannabinoids have been shown to play a fundamental role in the control of cell survival/cell death. It has been reported that cannabinoids may induce proliferation, growth arrest, or apoptosis in a number of cells, including neurons, lymphocytes, and various transformed neural and non-neural cells, and that cannabinoids induce apoptosis of glioma cells in culture and regression of malignant gliomas in vivo.

There is a long history of anecdotal evidence that points to cannabis having efficacy treating cancer. Programmed cell death this is the key, the author of this patent mentions it three times in less than a page and the application continues for hundreds of pages more and it is mentioned hundreds of times. So this pre-programmed cell death that cancer cells lack, can Phytocannabinoids fix it? How does it shrink tumors and cure cancer?

Cannabis Oil, often referred to as Rick Simpsons oil, is a highly potent concentration of the active parts of the cannabis plant, it is extremely intoxicating and taken at very high doses, like a gram of oil a day. Cannabis oil has been reported to reprogram cancer cells to die as described above. Those that have had success treating their cancer in this manner report shrinking tumors, and clear scans and sometimes continue on cannabis at much lower doses for maintenance.

The difficult parts about this process are developing a high enough tolerance to THC in the patient for them to reach and maintain a high enough dose to attain a therapeutic benefit and early detection.

Another challenge in using cannabis to treat cancer is the widespread use of chemotherapy and radiation in cancer patients. These treatments are extremely toxic and have had limited success in curing cancer. They shrink tumors but also kill undamaged cells causing nausea and loss of appetite. Cannabis focuses its energy on only the damaged cells and leaves the healthy ones alone.  

Cannabis can be useful to a patient undergoing chemo or radiation treatment but the benefits are mostly supportive. Cannabis stimulates appetite and therefore can minimize loss of appetite and the resulting weight loss many cancer patients endure. Cannabis is a great pain reliever and can also relieve the discomfort caused by these treatments.   

This leaves a cancer patient in a position of great uncertainty at a time when their life has already been disrupted greatly. In the end it is a difficult decision as to how to treat one's cancer. These people deserve the best care and scientific information available and the freedom of choice to choose the best path for themselves.

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