It’s long been known that cannabis can help with the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Recently, however, it has also been claimed that cannabis may actually be able to cure cancer itself.
So, can marijuana cure cancer?
What follows is an attempt to examine these claims and their validity.
Rick Simpson hemp oil – some background
This lens was inspired by Run From The Cure, a documentary about a Canadian man who claims that the concentrated oil from the cannabis plant has cured his skin cancer, as well as a variety cancers in people from his community. The entire story is documented here.
This video has inspired hundreds of others to try this cure for themselves. As such, I think it’s worth examining whether there is any validity to these claims. Today there are a couple dozen YouTube videos from people who have tried the same treatment regimen. Many claim that hemp oil has also cured their cancer, and some of these videos even include day-by-day photos showing their tumors shrinking. Despite the fact that there are no clinical trials supporting this notion, the idea that cannabis has strong anti-cancer properties is actually supported by pre-clinical, in vitro, and animal studies. To quote Dr. Robert Melamede, “Over 600 peer reviewed articles show that numerous cancer types (lung, breast, prostate, glioma, thyroid, leukemia, lymphoma, basil cell carcinoma, melanoma, etc) are killed by cannabinoids in tissue culture and animal studies.” The idea that cannabis can cure cancer is also supported by epidemiological studies, which have found that longterm marijuana users have vastly lower rates of certain cancers than non users.
This lens isn’t meant as medical advice, rather it’s meant to help those who are interested find the various YouTube videos of people talking about how hemp oil has cured their cancer, and also find all of the academic research on marijuana’s anti-cancer properties. It’s basically just a jumping off point for people who want to be up-to-date on the latest scientific research, as well as the latest testimonials from those who are actually trying this for themselves. (Unfortunately the government has made it impossible to conduct actual clinical trials, so all we have to go on is the meager pre-clinical evidence; hopefully this will change within the next ten years.)
A big reason I made this lens is so that people have something useful they can send to those who have been recently diagnosed with cancer. Although we still have much more to learn about marijuana’s anti-cancer properties, it is already very well established that there are major benefits for those suffering the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. This lens is also meant to help people learn more about those benefits as well.
Why haven’t I heard about this?
- What Your Government Knows About Cannabis And Cancer — And Isn’t Telling You
- An excellent introduction to the current state of scientific research surround cannabis as a cure for cancer.
- If Pot Prevented Cancer You Would Have Read About It, Right?
- An article from NORML about the media bias against marijuana as a cancer cure.
- Latest White House Drug Strategy Report Affirms Our Government Has Virtually No Interest In Actually Studying Marijuana
- Explains how the government is banning scientists from researching marijuana. It’s unfortunate that I have to link to blogs like this to explain the issue, but unfortunately these issues are largely ignored by the mainstream media.
An introduction to endocannabinoids
- The Truth About Cannabis
- Claudia Little, a registered nurse, tells the story of her investigations into the use of cannabis as a medicine. This is probably the single best first thing to listen to as an introduction to the overall medicinal properties of marijuana.There are also a bunch of great links at the bottom to help you find additional resources, as well as some links to notable recent scientific research.
- Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD): Can this Concept Explain Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other Treatment-Resistant Conditions?
- An academic journal article exploring the concept of Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. The author proposes that the reason why cannabinoids appear to treat such a wide variety of diseases is that the human body can be deficient in cannabinoids, the same way it can be deficient in other neurotransmitters, hormones, nutrients, etc.
- Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb
- An academic journal article summarizing the major therapeutic potentials of various cannabinoids.
- Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System [NORML]
- “How can one herb help so many different conditions? How can it provide both palliative and curative actions? How can it be so safe while offering such powerful effects? The search to answer these questions has led scientists to the discovery of a previously unknown physiologic system, a central component of the health and healing of every human and almost every animal: the endocannabinoid system.”
Summaries of the academic research
- Antitumor Effects of Cannabinoids in Laboratory/Animal/Preclinical Studies
- The National Cancer Institute’s page on the antitumor effects of cannabis, as well as the information on how cannabis can be used to help with the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
- Cancer and Medical Marijuana
- An evidence-based overview of the scientific research on medical cannabis. In addition to looking at the anti-cancer properties of cannabis, it also talks extensively about marijuana’s role in treating the nausea and other side effects that commonly result from radiation and chemotherapy.
- Summary of Cancer Research [NORML]
- “A review of the modern scientific literature reveals numerous preclinical studies and one pilot clinical study demonstrating cannabinoids’ ability to act as antineoplastic agents, particularly on glioma cell lines.”
- Clearing The Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
- This PBS documentary is about how cannabis acts on the brain and the body to treat illness, including cancer. A combination of scientific evidence and stories from real patients. Not quite as good as What If Cannabis Cured Cancer, but it has the advantage of being free.
- Medical Marijuana Use and Research
- Incredibly detailed, yet incredibly concise, statement by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in full and overwhelming support of medical marijuana.
- Cannabis Kills Cancer cells finds UCLA research and others
- A short documentary created mostly from various existing videos.
Must-watch videos about hemp oil
- Cured: A Cannabis Story
- A YouVideo by a man who was inspired by the Run From The Cure movie (below) to use hemp oil to treat his skin cancer. An excellent first video to watch, as it’s very short and shows day-by-day photographs of his progress.
- Rick Simpson’s Hemp Oil Medicine
- A highly informative article describing how Rick Simpson rediscovered the medicinal benefits of hemp oil. While I wouldn’t normally advocate taking one’s medical advice from High Times, this is definitely worth a read.
- Run From The Cure
- A documentary about Rick Simpson, who Canadian man who heard a radio program on the scientific research showing the potential of cannabinoids and decided to see if hemp oil could treat his own medical problems. He had such great success that he eventually started giving the oil to others in his community for free, and they began seeing amazing success also. He is the one who came up with the treatment regimen of one gram per day for 60 days. As I explain above, this video definitely isn’t convincing on its own, and there are many problems with it. However, when viewed in light of the wealth of in vitro tests, animal studies, and epidemiological evidence showing that cannabis can slow the progression and spread of cancer or even cure it, the idea that this treatment regimen could actually be safe and effective suddenly becomes highly plausible, albeit nowhere near proven.This video contains the story of Rick Simpson, a handful of anecdotes of success using the medicine, and also detailed instructions for making the medicine yourself.
- Vitamin Cannabis
- This video contains a few good anecdotes about the efficacy of hemp oil on curing cancer. However, it gets excessively angsty, so I’m only recommending it for the first two parts.
- Phoenix Tears
- This is Rick Simpson’s website, where he actually explains how to make hemp oil.
Could the chemicals found in marijuana prevent and even heal several deadly cancers? This movie explains how consuming cannabis promotes the death of cancer cells without harming the body’s healthy cells. The movie summarizes the remarkable research findings of recent years about the cancer-protective effects of novel compounds in marijuana. It presents compelling evidence that our current policy on cannabis is counterproductive and foolish.
The best documentary about the history of marijuana prohibition.
Never go anywhere near cannabis without having first seen this video.
Journal articles and literature reviews
- Cannabinoids for Cancer Treatment: Progress and Promise
- “Cannabinoids are a class of pharmacologic compounds that offer potential applications as antitumor drugs, based on the ability of some members of this class to limit inflammation, cell proliferation, and cell survival. In particular, emerging evidence suggests that agonists of cannabinoid receptors expressed by tumor cells may offer a novel strategy to treat cancer. Here, we review recent work that raises interest in the development and exploration of potent, nontoxic, and nonhabit forming cannabinoids for cancer therapy.”
- Turned-Off Cannabinoid Receptor Turns on Colorectal Tumor Growth
- This research shows that the CB1 receptor is blocked in most colorectal cancers (and possibly other cancers) via methylation. This suggests that it may be necessary to take a drug to unblock the receptors prior to treatment with cannabinoids. This discussion thread has some further information on various drugs that can be used to unblock the CB1 receptors. Here is a link to the original research.
- Cannabinoids: Potential anticancer agents
- A journal article summarizing all of the major research on the anticancer properties of marijuana.
- Cannabinoids as potential new therapy for the treatment of gliomas
- “Cannabinoids have displayed a great potency in reducing glioma [brain cancer] tumor growth either in vitro or in animal experimental models, curbing the growth of xenografts generated by subcutaneous or intratecal injection of glioma cells in immune-deficient mice. Moreover, cannabinoids appear to be selective antitumoral agents as they kill glioma cells without affecting the viability of nontransformed counterparts. A pilot clinical trial on patients with glioblastoma multiforme demonstrated their good safety profile together and remarkable antitumor effects, and may set the basis for further studies aimed at better evaluating the potential anticancer activity of cannabinoids.”
- Cannabis-Derived Substances in Cancer Therapy – An Emerging Anti-Inflammatory Role for the Cannabinoids
- “This article reviews the ever-changing relationship between cannabinoids and cancer, and updates our understanding of this class of agent. Furthermore, the relationship between chronic inflammation and cancer, and how cannabinoids can impact this relationship will be described.”
Hemp oil for other medical conditions
- Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids: A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature
- A book by Paul Armentano summarizing the medical benefits of cannabis for a wide variety of different medical conditions. The book is available as a PDF, and here is the same information as a webpage.
- Shona Banda – Live Free or Die
- A video about a woman who used cannabis oil to treat her Crohn’s Disease.
- Medical Marijuana; Better than the Alternatives
- Ron Crumpton describes his struggles with lower back pain, muscle spasms, and IBS, and how he almost died from the treatments his doctors were prescribing him. That is, as you probably can guess by this point, until he discovered medical marijuana.
by: MD, PhD, David Servan-Schreiber
Essential information on modifying your diet to fight cancer. See also this excellent TED talk about how certain foods have strong anti-angiogenic properties, and as such can slow progression or even shrink or kill tumors.
by: Lynn Zimmer, John P. Morgan
The single best booking summing up the scientific evidence on the safety of marijuana.
by: Donald Abrams, Andrew Weil
Contains a chapter about cannabinoids.
by: Clint Werner
A new book that just came out, supposedly very good.
Finding the latest research
- Granny Storm Crow’s List
- A collection of hundreds of links to academic journal articles and news reports on the medicinal effects of marijuana. Pages 75 – 104 are filled with hundreds of links to academic research on a wide variety of cancers.Arguably the most important link on this lens.
- Database of Clinical Research and Case Reports
- A database of clinical research and case reports, from the last 30 years, maintained by the International Association for Cannabis.
- International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines
- Links to hundreds of different academic studies on dozens of different medical conditions.
- International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS)
- An annual symposium featuring the latest scientific research on cannabinoids.
Additional information and resources
- William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer? [TED]
- William Li presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.
- Why you should never talk to any police officer
- An absolute must-watch video. Don’t go anywhere near cannabis without first having seen this video.
- Never Get Busted Again
- Same as the above. Never go anywhere near cannabis without first having seen this video.
- Terence McKenna talking about the benefits of cannabis
- In this podcast Terence McKenna talks about the how cannabis has improved his overall quality of life.
Organizations worth supporting
- Marijuana Policy Project
- An organization devoted to changing marijuana laws.
- Americans For Safe Access
- Advancing Legal Medical Marijuana Therapeutics and Research. Their website has a lot of information about the medical benefits of marijuana for various medical conditions.
- Students for Sensible Drug Policy
- A national organization of students who support reforming our nation’s drug laws.
- MAPS – Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
- MAPS is a non-profit pharmaceutical company working on developing MDMA, psilocybin, and cannabis into prescription drugs.
- NORML – National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
- NORML maintains an excellent blog covering the latest news on scientific research and legal reform. Their website also contains extensive legal and medical information.
Medical Marijuana Facts
- Medical Marijuana Facts
- The goal of this lens is to summarize the best research and resources on medical marijuana. What follows are the facts that every potential patient or careg…
- Compassion First AZ – Patient and Caregiver Matching
- source: Could Marijuana Cure Cancer?