Monday, October 19, 2009

Medical Marijuana & How it Helps Cancer

Marijuana proven effective in treating different types of cancers

Dave Stancliff
For the Times-Standard
Posted: 10/18/2009 01:27:25 AM PDT

Marijuana opponents in the federal government are up against the wall
and the wall is crumbling. The feds have fought marijuana use for
decades, disregarding its medicinal applications, in a senseless war
against the herb.

The demonized killer weed is turning out to be anything but that. As
myths about this ancient herb are dispelled, scientists are using it to
treat everything from chemotherapy- induced nausea to different cancers.

In August, The British Journal of Cancer published the results of a
study that found THC (the main active component in marijuana) is
effective in fighting prostate cancer.

Reportedly, pot attacks prostate cancer cell types that do not respond
to the usual hormone treatments.

A recent study by a team of Spanish researchers discovered THC kills
various brain cancer cells by a process known as autophagy. Michigan's
new law regarding marijuana use went into effect in April. Patients,
with doctor's prescriptions, get a state-issued ID Card (a lot like
California's) which allows them to grow and use marijuana to treat pain
and other symptoms of cancer and multiple sclerosis.

In October 2003, the University of California, San Francisco, released
the results of a study that said pot was effective when used in
combination with opiate pain medications. Dr. Donald Abrams, MD, UCSF
professor of Clinical Medicine and chief of the Hematology-Oncology
Division at SF General Hospital Medical Center, told the press,
"Marijuana uses a different mechanism than opiates and could augment
the pain relief of opiate analgesics."

The Marijuana Policy Project recently reported on a study that suggests
moderate amounts of marijuana use reduces risk of head and neck squamous
cell carcinoma (HNSCC). This study suggests cannabinoids have potential
anti-tumor properties.

A study released in July, "White matter in adolescents with history
of marijuana use and binge drinking," says marijuana use actually
protects brain cells. The study involved adolescents with alcohol use

One group had just alcohol-drinking teens. The other group drank alcohol
and used marijuana. The report said that binge drinkers who used
marijuana retained more white matter than the other group. In other
words, alcohol destroyed more brain cells when a person didn't use

How many times have you heard someone say, "Pot destroys your brain
cells"? If that's true, what about this study? Why do doctors use
marijuana to fight brain cancer if it destroys brain cells? Remember the
Spanish study?

In April of 2007, Harvard University researchers released the results of
a study that concluded THC cuts tumor growth in common lung cancers and
reduces the ability of the cancer to spread.

A study conducted by UCLA's medical school in June 2005 concluded
smoking marijuana did not cause lung cancer. That impressive piece of
news, along with the Harvard study, seems to have been ignored by most
mass media outlets.

Fred Gardner, editor of the medical marijuana research journal,
O'Shaughnessy' s, recently wrote an article, "Smoking Marijuana Does
Not Cause Cancer," about this groundbreaking UCLA study that barely
made headlines.

Gardner reported that an investigative team was contracted with the
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2002 "to conduct a large,
population-based, case-controlled study that would prove definitively
that heavy, long-term marijuana use increases the risk of lung and
upper-airway cancers."

Guess what? This study backfired! It turned out that increased marijuana
use did not result in higher rates of lung and pharyngeal cancer. The
study also concluded that tobacco smokers who also puffed on pot were at
a slightly lower risk of getting lung cancer than those who didn't!

Perhaps the icing on the cake is the fact that UCLA Medical professor
Donald Tashkin led the investigation. Tashkin has led government studies
on marijuana since the 1970s and is well known for his belief that heavy
marijuana use causes lung and upper-airway cancers. To his credit as a
professional, he ended up disproving his own original hypothesis.

Despite the government's efforts to keep it illegal, it's apparent that
marijuana does offer help in the battle to treat cancer. The facts about
marijuana's medical potentials are finally causing cracks in the
government's wall of lies built up over the years.

As It Stands, it's time to bring down that wall.

Dave Stancliff is a columnist for The Times-Standard. He is a former
newspaper editor and publisher. Comments can be sent to
richstan1@suddenlin or www.davesblogcentra

http://www.times- standard. com/othervoices/ ci_13588713

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