That means we need to determine if cannabis is the winner we all hope it will be. But before that happens we desperately need more human clinical research to prove the claims that cannabis cures cancer. While we pensively wait for that work to be accomplished, I’ll present several astonishing cases for you to examine.
Right now we find ourselves in an absurd catch 22: the FDA and the DEA have been telling us for forty years that they need more clinical research to prove the medical value of marijuana before it can be removed from its schedule I status. However, before we can obtain valuable clinical research on humans to help remove it from its prohibitive schedule I status, pot must be removed from its current prohibitive schedule I status so that human clinical trials may be undertaken. I feel a migraine coming on, what a mess!
Meanwhile the media and our medical academies have been curiously silent on the explosion of new cancer cases seen each year both in the US and abroad. In case you didn’t know, the documented incidence of cancer (all cancers combined) is increasing at a disturbing rate. This is particularly true for many of our deadliest cancers. While the rates escalate successful treatments have not. The death rates for the most deadly forms of cancer such as ovarian, pancreatic or glioblastoma have not significantly budged for 40 years.
Novelty Gone Wild
A hundred years ago cancer was a novelty. For example the US total number of lung cancer cases reported in the year 1900 was about 140. Yes, only 140 cases TOTAL. But over the last century it has become a major culling force. Up from a rare group of disorders to affecting one in three several years ago (US and Canada). Finally, as of 2015, American men stand a one in two chance of getting some kind of cancer in their lifetimes. A one in two chance, fifty-fifty. Women are not far behind. That’s astonishing when cancers like these were as rare as teeth on a drake mallard just a generation ago.
Dr. Epstein: Canary in a Coal Mine
We’ve been warned for decades by prominent academic scholars that cancers are running out of control. Much of this shocking news has been revealed to us in award-winning publications by Emeritus Professor Dr Samuel Epstein. His newest tome “Cancer-Gate: How to Win the Losing War on Cancer” is a groundbreaking new book.
It warns that, contrary to three decades of promises, we are losing the winnable war against cancer, and that the hand-in-glove generals of the federal National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the private “”nonprofit”” American Cancer Society (ACS) have betrayed us. These institutions, Epstein alleges, have spent tens of billions of taxpayer and charity dollars primarily targeting silver-bullet cures, strategies that have largely failed, while virtually ignoring strategies for preventing cancer in the first place. As a result, cancer rates have escalated to epidemic proportions, now striking nearly one in every two men, and more than one in every three women. This translates into approximately 50 percent more cancer in men, and 20 percent more cancer in women over the course of just one generation. [ref](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0895033542?*Version*=1&*entries*=0) 10/05/201[/ref]
In other words, as best-selling author Dr Abramson (Overdosed America) claims, we have lost the “War on Cancer.” The age-adjusted death rate for cancers overall is the same as it was in 1971. This means that should you find yourself diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer you will need to think long and hard about your options. One option is to reject conventional approaches and reach for the hash oil especially if you are diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Glioblastoma Multiforme; The Deadliest of All
When I was in medical school studying neurology I recall one of my professors mentioning a dreadful brain cancer. It’s called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). It stuck in my brain (pun intended) as the one cancer you certainly do not want; as if there are some that we do want?
My professor glibly stated that once diagnosed the patient will have just enough time to sort out their affairs before saying goodbye. Along with dozens of other deadly cancers rising like dandelions in the spring, GBM is more bite than bark and impossible to treat. Nothing in conventional medicine offers hope; neither chemotherapy, radiation, nor surgery can alter its fatal course. That’s why when I heard of people curing themselves with a marijuana concentrate I had to take notice.
Recall GBM’s most famous patient: the late senator Edward Kennedy. He predictably presented with a new onset seizure and was dead a few months later after “state of the art” cancer care from the eminent Duke University Medical Center.
From the American Brain tumor Association:
Glioblastomas (GBM)…These tumors are usually highly malignant (cancerous) because the cells reproduce quickly and they are supported by a large network of blood vessels.
Glioblastoma can be difficult to treat because the tumors contain so many different types of cells. Some cells may respond well to certain therapies, while others may not be affected at all. This is why the treatment plan for glioblastoma may combine several approaches. [Surgery, chemo and radiation]
…With standard treatment, median survival for adults with an anaplastic astrocytoma is about two to three years. For adults with more aggressive glioblastoma, treated with concurrent temozolamide and radiation therapy, median survival is about 14.6 months and two-year survival is 30%. However, a 2009 study reported that almost 10% of patients with glioblastoma may live five years or longer.
Children with high-grade tumors (grades III and IV) tend to do better than adults; five-year survival for children is about 25%.[ref](http://www.abta.org/brain-tumor-information/types-of-tumors/glioblastoma.html) 10/06/2015[/ref]
To summarize between 75% (children) and 90% (adults) are dead in five years.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, GBM accounts for approximately 50% of the 22,500 new cases of brain cancer diagnosed in the United States each year. Treatment options are limited and expected survival is a little over one year.[ref](http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/gw-pharmaceuticals-commences-phase-1b2a-clinical-trial-for-the-treatment-of-glioblastoma-multiforme-gbm-231391971) 10/12/2015[/ref]
The Good News
It turns out that GBM tumors, like many others, are rife with cannabinoid (CB) receptors. Compelling evidence suggests that cancer cells littered with CB receptors respond well to full-spectrum cannabis preparations. The actions on these receptors from THC provides a valuable model to help explain the function of the phytocannabinoids in shrinking brain tumors.
In November of 2014 an article was published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics which supported this concept entitled: The Combination of Cannabidiol and Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Enhances the Anticancer Effects of Radiation in an Orthotopic Murine Glioma Model, by Katherine A. Scott, Angus G. Dalgleish, and Wai M. Liu. Department of Oncology, St George’s University of London.
In a Washington Post interview with Dr Wai Liu, he describes the results of their groundbreaking discovery in which cannabinoids could play a significant role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers in adults and children.
There are more than 85 cannabinoids, which are known to bind to unique receptors in cells and which receive outside chemical signals. These receptors feed into signaling pathways, telling cells what to do. Recent studies have shown that some cannabinoids have potent anti-cancer action. For example, both THC and CBD have been shown in a number of laboratory studies to effectively induce cell death in tumor cells by modifying the faulty signaling pathways inside these cells. Depending on the cell type, this can disrupt tumor growth or start to kill it.
The psychoactivity associated with some cannabinoids, principally THC (which gives people a cannabis high), is also mediated via the same receptors. Because these receptors are found in the highest abundances in brain cells, it follows that brain tumors also rich in these receptors may respond best to cannabinoids.
Depending on the individual, treatment can consist of surgery, radiotherapy, and/or chemotherapy with the drug temozolomide. However, due primarily to the intricate localization of the tumor in the brain and its invasive behavior, these treatments remain largely unsuccessful.
However, as our study showed, combining radiotherapy with cannabinoid treatment had a big effect.[ref](https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/18/how-pot-helped-shrink-one-of-the-most-aggressive-brain-cancers/) 10/06/2015[/ref]
The big effect seen was when THC and CBD were combined it lead to a favorable and powerful antitumor effect achieving a 50% kill rate of test-tube glioma cells at half the concentration of either substance used alone.
In other words the synergistic effects of combined THC and CBD were far superior to either one alone. But each one had powerful antitumor effects on their own.
Once this information was established Dr Liu then tested the impact of combining the cannabinoids in special ratios with irradiation in mice with glioma.
But the secret to successfully exploiting cannabinoids as a treatment for cancer is to balance the desired anti-cancer effects with the less desirable psychoactive effects. This is possible, as some cannabinoids seem to function independently of the receptors and so do not engage the adverse effects. CBD is one such cannabinoid. The doses of THC we selected were below the psychoactive level, but together with CBD it partnered well to give the best overall anti-cancer effect.
THC, CBD And Low Dose Radiation
After trial and error they found that the very best approach used CBD, low concentrations of THC and low-dose radiotherapy.
Our results showed that the dose of irradiation we used had no dramatic effect on tumor growth, whereas CBD and THC administered together marginally reduced tumor progression. However, combining the cannabinoids with irradiation further impeded the rate at which tumor growth progressed and was virtually stagnant throughout the course of the treatment. Correspondingly, tumor sizes on the final day of the study were significantly smaller in these subjects compared with any of the others.
The results are promising. There may be other applications, but for now, it could provide a way of breaking through glioma and saving more lives.
THC, CBD And TMZ
A Combined Preclinical Therapy of Cannabinoids and Temozolomide against Glioma, Sofía Torres et al.[ref]Mol Cancer Ther January 2011 10; 90[/ref]
A Spanish research team headed by Dr Torres found that cannabinoid receptor agonists like THC the major active ingredient of marijuana, and other cannabinoid receptor agonists inhibit tumor growth in animal models of cancer, including glioma, an effect that relies, at least in part, on the stimulation of autophagy-mediated apoptosis-a type of suicide for tumor cells.
What they found was when THC was combined with the only known drug that is partially helpful in treating GBM, temozolomide (TMZ), had a powerful anti-tumor effect on glioma cells even if the cells were resistant to TMZ alone. THC somehow induces autophagy (or auto “eating” itself) in cancer cells, a critical role in the proposed mechanism of action.
They also administered submaximal doses of THC and cannabidiol together which produced a potent inhibition of growth of tumor cells (glioma xenographs). CBD is another plant-derived cannabinoid that also induces glioma cell death through a mechanism of action different from that of THC. The two work hand in glove each complimenting the others anti-cancer actions.
In their conclusion:
Moreover, treatment with TMZ and submaximal doses of THC and CBD produced a strong antitumoral action in both TMZ-sensitive and TMZ-resistant tumors. Altogether, our findings support that the combined administration of TMZ and cannabinoids could be therapeutically exploited for the management of GBM. (Mol Cancer Ther; 10(1); 90–103. ©2011 AACR.)
THC And GBM
Another Spanish trial was conducted. Entitled: A pilot clinical study of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme.[ref]British Journal of Cancer (2006) 95, 197–203.[/ref]
This time it was a pilot clinical study of THC on human test subjects with recurrent GBM. Headed by Dr Guzman they found that intracranial administration of THC directly into the tumor was safe and effective although median survival time was only 24 weeks. In conclusion:
The fair safety profile of THC, together with its possible antiproliferative action on tumour cells reported here and in other studies, may set the basis for future trials aimed at evaluating the potential antitumoral activity of cannabinoids.
There were no induced remissions in this group of only nine patients. Although this surprised me it makes some sense in terms of the entourage effect that I’ve mentioned previously. It means that in order to kill cancer cells in vivo (in real living human subjects) we might need all of the phytocannabinoids in cannabis oil.
The Entourage Effect encourages cancer cell death in vivo through synergy. In part two we’ll meet several patients who apparently beat the deadliest cancers known using the essential oil of cannabis as part of their treatment protocol.