Loading

tumors

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 24, 2011

    Scientific trials have for decades documented the anti-cancer properties of cannabis and its constituents. Yet it took until this week for the website of the National Institute of Cancer, a component of the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health, to finally acknowledged the herb’s therapeutic utility for patients living with disease or suffering from the adverse side-effects of cancer treatment.

    In a newly added section to the website, entitled ‘Cannabis and Cannabinoids,’ the Institute states:

    Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death.”

    …The potential benefits of medicinal cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect.”

    It’s a stunning acknowledgment, given that the NIH is a branch of the very same government that presently maintains that the cannabis plant and all of its naturally-derived components have ‘no accepted medical use.’ Yet it also begs the question: Where has the National Institute of Cancer been all these years?

    After all, the anti-tumor activity of cannabinoids were initially documented in 1975! That’s right; it’s taken 36 years for the Institute to get with the program.

    Hopefully it won’t take them another 36 years to demand that the Feds finally assess whether these preclinical results are replicable in human trials.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 4, 2010

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for NORML’s free e-zine here.]

    The administration of THC reduces the tumor growth of metastatic breast cancer and “might constitute a new therapeutic tool for the treatment” of cancerous tumors, according to preclinical data published online in the journal Molecular Cancer.

    Investigators from Complutense University in Madrid assessed the anti-tumor potential of THC and JWH-133, a non-psychotropic CB2 receptor-selective agonist, in the treatment of ErbB2-positive breast tumors – a highly aggressive form of breast cancer that is typically unresponsive to standard therapies.

    Researchers reported, “[B]oth Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol … and JWH-133 …reduce tumor growth [and] tumor number [in mice]. … [T]hese results provide a strong preclinical evidence for the use of cannabinoid-based therapies for the management of ErbB2-positive breast cancer.”

    In 2007, investigators at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute reported that the administration of the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid CBD limited breast cancer metastasis in a manner that was superior to comparable synthesized agents.

    Previous preclinical studies assessing the anticancer properties of cannabinoids have shown that they inhibit the proliferation of a wide range of cancers, including brain cancer, prostate cancer, oral cancers, lung cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, biliary tract cancers, and lymphoma.

    Full text of the study, “Cannabinoids reduce ErbB2-driven breast cancer progression through Akt inhibition,” is available online here.