Friday, July 3, 2015

It's Official: Marijuana Is Medicine

A series of papers in the Journal of the American Medical Association is starting to correct the shameful legacy of drug war politics over cannabis science. But a research catch-22 persists.

by

The nation's top medical organization released a major series of papers on medical cannabis last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in a move that constitutes a small step for the AMA, but a giant leap in cannabis medical history.
 
 In five key papers, teams of researchers systematically reviewed dozens of clinical studies of marijuana, speaking in clear language that the "use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence."
The review validated what doctors and patients in California have risked their freedom to say for twenty years. The findings also directly refute critics who maintain that "marijuana is not medicine."
"They concluded cannabis is useful," said Dr. Frank Lucido, a Berkeley physician who specializes in cannabis. "I don't think a single study didn't show benefit. ... I think it was very positive."
"It is somewhat affirming to see this come out," said Clint Werner, best-selling author of Marijuana: Gateway to Health. "It's invalidating that talking point that 'it's just a Cheech and Chong show.'"
"What's driving this is a tremendous cultural shift that's preceding the political shift," said Martin Lee, of author Smoke Signals. The AMA is acknowledging "what's been known for 5,000 years."
The AMA actually opposed federal cannabis prohibition in 1937. After losing that round, most doctors have toed the Drug War line ever since. "It's great that they have finally acknowledged there's some medicinal value in cannabis, but the whole thing is so pathetic," Lee said.
Most major news media outlets, however, have spun the JAMA papers negatively, embracing the narrative that many uses for medical pot are still based on poor science. News reports noted that of one of the JAMA studies found that "there was low-quality evidence suggesting that cannabinoids were associated with improvements in nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, weight gain in HIV infection, sleep disorders, and Tourette syndrome."
News outlets also pointed to another review that found that "there is some evidence to support the use of marijuana for nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy, specific pain syndromes, and spasticity from multiple sclerosis. However, for most other indications that qualify by state law for use of medical marijuana, such as hepatitis C, Crohn disease, Parkinson disease, or Tourette syndrome, the evidence supporting its use is of poor quality."
Cannabis experts say the problem with some of the conclusions in the JAMA studies, and the reporting about them, is that they fail to own up to the main reason why study quality has often been poor: the systematic blockade on pot research. For decades, the federal government has refused to authorize research on the medical benefits of cannabis. As a result, the inconclusiveness of some of the research is more a reflection of the federal ban than of the medical effectiveness of pot. "You know how incredibly hard it is to do research that is intended to confirm benefits of cannabis?" said Warner. "It's impossible. We still have a huge catch-22."
Experts also say that the decision by AMA researchers to ignore the research blockade shows their bias. "It's a national embarrassment. The federal designation that cannabis has no medical value is like saying the moon is made of green cheese," Lee said. "It seems the AMA can't say, 'No, the moon is not made of green cheese.'"
The AMA researchers also fail to acknowledge the real world benefits reported by patients. For example, about one in twenty California adults (1.4 million) have used medical cannabis for a "serious" condition and 92 percent of them have reported that it worked. "We have plenty of evidence that it helps for a lot of things," Lucido said. "We should always do more research. But we shouldn't stop people from using it in the meantime."
The AMA researchers also listed the side effects of cannabis without providing context. "Adverse Effects included dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, somnolence, euphoria, vomiting, disorientation, and hallucination," one of the reports concluded.
But the AMA researchers didn't compare the adverse side effects of cannabis to those of competing analgesics and anti-inflammatories. Painkiller overdoses are America's leading epidemic. Ibuprofen, for example, regularly causes kidney failure. But those facts were not mentioned in the JAMA studies. "A full third of the Physician's Desk Reference is adverse effects, including death," Lucido said. "Cannabis has about ten adverse effects, at least two of which are often desired."
The AMA researchers' statements about cannabis addiction also lacked context. "I imagine sleeping pills probably have a much bigger dependency ratio," Lucido said.
Still, as half-hearted and equivocal as the JAMA papers were, they contributed to a rising tide of mainstream validation for cannabis that's washing away its prohibition.
"Culturally, the fight is over. We won," Lee said. "The pro-cannabis side has conquered the culture. Now politics is catching up."

http://m.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/its-official-marijuana-is-medicine/Content?oid=4381482

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How Cannabis Cures Cancer (+30 Medical Researches) Good Collection




Cannabis the magic plant that made noise over the last years, had been recognized as the most efficient cure for the different types of Cancer, so,  in order to help clear things up, here is a list of 34 studies showing that marijuana cures cancer, categorized by the type of cancers being cured in each study. As you sort through the articles, note that the consistent theme between them is that cannabis shrinks tumors and selectively targets cancer cells. As bills and voter initiatives to legalize medical marijuana spread from state to state, remember that we’re not just talking about mitigating the side effects of chemo (though this is another viable use), we’re talking about curing the cancer itself as well as preventing its spread. I’ve taken the liberty of only including articles from credible scientific journals, removing any biased or otherwise improperly cited studies. Enjoy!
Brain Cancer
Mouth and Throat Cancer
Breast Cancer
Lung Cancer
Uterine, Testicular, and Pancreatic Cancers
Prostate Cancer
Colorectal Cancer
Ovarian Cancer
Blood Cancer
Skin Cancer
Liver Cancer
Biliary Tract Cancer
Bladder Cancer
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/803983 (Sign-up required to view study)
Cancer in General
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff. This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Israeli study finds cannabis delays cancer development

http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/society/67341-150411-israeli-study-finds-cannabis-delays-cancer-development

50 varieties of Israeli cannabis and its effects on 200 different cancer cells are being studied by scientists
Frederic J. Brown (AFP/File)Frederic J. Brown (AFP/File)"The highly-rated strain of medical marijuana 'Blue Dream' is displayed among others in glass jars at LA's first-ever cannabis farmer's market on July 4, 2014 in Los Angeles, California"
A preliminary study conducted by Israeli scientists has discovered that cannabis may help slow the growth of certain cancerous tumors, even eliminating them completely, reported the Israeli daily Haaretz. Already known for its therapeutic effects on certain diseases, cannabis may also have reactive properties, according to Israeli researchers at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) in Haifa who conducted research on the healing properties of the plant.
Dr. David Meiri, assistant professor in the biology department at the Technion, is leading the research team. The project began a year ago and is focused on the cytoskeleton and cell division in healthy and cancerous cells.
"There is a large body of scientific data which indicates that cannabinoids specifically inhibit cancer cell growth and promote cancer cell death," explained Meiri to Haaretz. "In addition to active cannabinoids, cannabis plants also contain a multitude of other therapeutic agents, such as terpenoids and flavonoids that are usually present in small quantities, but can have beneficial therapeutic effects, especially as synergistic compounds to cannabinoids."
Meiri and his colleagues have succeeded in causing the cancer cells responsible for brain cancer to "commit suicide,' and have also found similar results in breast cancer cells,
From there Meiri and his colleagues are hoping to find other cancer cells which react in the same way.
Scientists are currently studying an estimated 50 different varieties of cannabis produced in Israel and its effects on 200 different types of cancer cells.
Despite these promising results, Dr. Meiri said it was too early to draw definitive conclusions.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Article by Helen Bamber

The Legalization of Cannabis
The questions and debate surrounding the legalisation of cannabis have been circling for decades, but only recently has the weight of public support swung in favor of legalisation. Whilst the majority of Americans now support the concept of cannabis legalisation is some format (whether for medicinal or recreational use) the American government still spends around $1 billion every year on enforcing the current cannabis prohibition laws. Some key commentators suspect that we will soon see this change. One of the main problems surrounding cannabis legalisation, and the main reason that we haven’t seen widespread legalisation is in getting the legislation around the issue right. If marijuana is legalised across the board with open access to all, in the same way that alcohol is legalised, then we are likely to see a huge increase in the number of cannabis users, particularly amongst the poor, the young, and the vulnerable: something that no government wants. However there are many proven benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes, and as more and more studies prove its worth, these really cannot be ignored any longer. So what is the best way to legalise marijuana which will ensure that the vulnerable are protected, whilst giving those who need the drug for medical use some much needed reassurance and legal protection?

Will We Soon See Federal Approval?
It was very recently announced that, for the first time, the Senate would consider legalising the medical use of marijuana for people who find the drug beneficial in assisting a list of pre-approved conditions.  Whilst several states have already adopted this policy and incorporated it into their state laws, so far there has been absolutely no comment on the process at a federal level. Until now. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will join together to introduce a bill that would reclassify marijuana to schedule 1 rather than schedule 2 in the federal drugs scheduling system. The main benefit of the bill is that it would permanently prohibit the federal government from shutting down medical marijuana operations in states where the use of marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes. Rescheduling the drug will allow for further research into the medical benefits of taking marijuana, enabling  at least three different licenses to be issued to FDA-approved research institutions for marijuana related studies that will only serve to benefit the wider population.

The Importance of Smart Legislation
When it comes to legalizing cannabis, it is important that that legalization is sensible, and that it is restricted to use for medicinal purposes, rather than introduced in a widespread way, in the same way as tobacco and alcohol.  An estimated 42.1 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes (around 18% of the population) and around 130.6 million people (which is more than half of the population) currently regularly drink alcohol. These large figures are, in a huge part, because both of these substances are legal and people are free to use them without anything other than age restriction. In comparison, there are much fewer people in the country regularly taking marijuana, and the fear is that complete legalization would change this, leaving is living in a nation of pot heads. Nationwide and unrestricted legalization, therefore, is unlikely to ever occur in the United States and for good reason.


Now is the right time for the Senate to discuss this issue and for this legislation to be passed. As public opinion against the blanket prohibition of cannabis continues to grow, it is essential that the parameters within which the government are willing to consider legalizing the substance are outlined and discussed. Legalization on the basis of medical need makes good medical and national sense, and is something that has been recommended by a wide host of medical professionals. An across the board legalization, however, is yet to be recommended by any leading figure, and could well turn the tide of public opinion against the concept of legalization. Only time will tell if this new and exciting bill is passed by the Senate, and what it will mean for those in states where marijuana is not currently legal who wish to take the drug due to medical need.

by Helen Bamber

Friday, March 27, 2015

‘Vitamin Weed’: Neuroscientist says cannabis oil slows down aging process


Neuroscientist Dr. Michelle Ross says she believes everyone can benefit from ‘vitamin weed’, or daily cannabis oil use.  “Cannabis is the key to unlocking preventative medicine,” says neuroscientist Dr. Michelle Ross.  “It helps protect your DNA from damage so it can actually slow down the aging process. I think everyone should use cannabis oil, you should learn about it, you shouldn’t be afraid.”
In this clip from the Reset with Amber Lyon podcast, Dr. Ross says she takes Rick Simpson Oil on a daily basis to achieve endocannabinoid homeostasis.   Endocannabinoids are your brain’s natural marijuana and play a major role in overall health including the regulation of appetiteanxiety controlblood pressurebone massreproduction, and motor coordination.  Deficient cannabinoid levels may be the underlying cause of numerous health conditions alleviated by cannabis.
Dr. Ross is a former drug researcher for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, turned medical marijuana advocate.



Monday, January 26, 2015

Proapoptotic effect of endocannabinoids in prostate cancer cells

http://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/or.2015.3746

  • Authors:
    • O. Orellana-Serradell
    • C. E. Poblete
    • C. Sanchez
    • E. A. Castell√≥n
    • I. Gallegos
    • C. Huidobro
    • M. N. Llanos
    • H. R. Contreras
  • Corresponding author:
  • View Affiliations
  • Published online on: Wednesday, January 21, 2015
  • DOI: 10.3892/or.2015.3746

Abstract

In the early stages, prostate cancer is androgen‑ dependent; therefore, medical castration has shown significant results during the initial stages of this pathology. Despite this early effect, advanced prostate cancer is resilient to such treatment. Recent evidence shows that derivatives of Cannabis sativa and its analogs may exert a protective effect against different types of oncologic pathologies. The purpose of the present study was to detect the presence of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) on cancer cells with a prostatic origin and to evaluate the effect of the in vitro use of synthetic analogs. In order to do this, we used a commercial cell line and primary cultures derived from prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia. The presence of the CB1 and CB2 receptors was determined by immunohistochemistry where we showed a higher expression of these receptors in later stages of the disease (samples with a high Gleason score). Later, treatments were conducted using anandamide, 2-arachidonoyl glycerol and a synthetic analog of anandamide, methanandamide. Using the MTT assay, we proved that the treatments produced a cell growth inhibitory effect on all the different prostate cancer cultures. This effect was demonstrated to be dose-dependent. The use of a specific CB1 receptor blocker (SR141716) confirmed that this effect was produced primarily from the activation of the CB1 receptor. In order to understand the MTT assay results, we determined cell cycle distribution by flow cytometry, which showed no variation at the different cell cycle stages in all the cultures after treatment. Treatment with endocannabinoids resulted in an increase in the percentage of apoptotic cells as determined by Annexin V assays and caused an increase in the levels of activated caspase-3 and a reduction in the levels of Bcl-2 confirming that the reduction in cell viability noted in the MTT assay was caused by the activation of the apoptotic pathway. Finally, we observed that endocannabinoid treatment activated the Erk pathway and at the same time, produced a decrease in the activation levels of the Akt pathway. Based on these results, we suggest that endocannabinoids may be a beneficial option for the treatment of prostate cancer that has become nonresponsive to common therapies.
 

Friday, January 23, 2015

German Scientists Have Confirmed an Amazing Link between Cannabis and Cancer Suppression

Researchers at the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology of Rostock University in Germany further confirm the profound benefits of Cannabis

 

R
esearchers at the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology of Rostock University in Germany rang in the New Year with excellent news for the world. In a study, Prof. Burkhard Hinz and his scientists put the active ingredients in cannabis up to the claims of holding an ability to truly kill cancer cells, even going further into the chemistry to find out exactly how this medical miracle takes place.  

Hinz’s repertoire with cannabis goes back a ways. In 2008 his research team was the first to discover that active ingredients actually slowed the migration of tumor cells into the surrounding tissues, this migration is what commonly leads metastasis, which is when cancer moves out from one affected area and into the rest of the body.   
The research has been published in the January 2015 edition of the journal Biochemical Pharmacology with the title “New Insights into Antimetastic and Antiangiogenic Effects of Cannabinoids.” What they found was that both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC or known as Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) and cannabidiolalso an active substance and originating from cannabiscontribute to the destruction of tumor cells by stimulating the formation of a specific proteinICAM-1. By acting on the surface of the cells attacked by cancer, the proteins link themselves to the immune system’s own defensive cellsmaking the cancerous cells burst. The active ingredients, thus, prevent cancerous cells from forming blood vessels which allow the cancer to take root and grow.

This is, of course, very encouraging news, but the professor gave no timeline with respect to when his studies will progress onward with the process of producing an actual medicine. Hinz emphasized that the study is still at an early stage, and said, “We are far from putting our discoveries into practice on a clinical level. However, our results are further evidence that cannabinoids mediate a series of potentially therapeutic uses.” 

 

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1937644814000082

Chapter Two – New Insights into Antimetastatic and Antiangiogenic Effects of Cannabinoids



Abstract

Cannabinoids exert antitumorigenic effects via multiple mechanisms. Of these, antimetastatic and antiangiogenic actions have attracted considerable interest in the past years. Regarding the underlying antimetastatic mechanism, several studies revealed cannabinoids to alter the gene expression of cancer cells toward a less-aggressive phenotype and to modulate their secretomic profile. Cannabinoids likewise modulate the release of factors from tumor cells that subsequently suppress the chemoattraction of vessel cells thereby conferring antiangiogenesis. Among the diverse mediators of cannabinoids' antitumorigenic action, the tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-1, which is released from cancer cells upon cannabinoid treatment, has been implicated as a pivotal factor conferring both anti-invasive properties of cancer cells as well as antiangiogenic capacities of endothelial cells. In addition, cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit angiogenic capacities of endothelial cells directly via suppressing their proliferation, tube formation, and migration. This chapter reviews the cell- and substance-specific antitumorigenic mechanisms of cannabinoids with particular consideration of their antimetastatic/anti-invasive and antiangiogenic actions. In addition, beneficial interactions of cannabinoids with currently used chemotherapeutics as well as the influence of cannabinoids on tumor-immune surveillance are addressed. Collectively, the currently available data suggest cannabinoids as a potential tool in modern cancer pharmacotherapy.

Keywords

  • Angiogenesis;
  • Cancer;
  • Cannabinoids;
  • Metastasis;
  • Tumor cell invasion

Corresponding author: E-mail: burkhard.hinz@med.uni-rostock.de