Spontatneous Tumor Regression
Cannabis inhalation is now associated with spontaneous brain tumor regression in two subjects, according to a pair of case reports to be published in Child’s Nervous System, the official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery.
Investigators at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital in Vancouver documented the mitigation of residual tumors in two adolescent subjects who regularly inhaled cannabis. Authors determined that both subjects experienced a “clear regression” of their residual brain tumors over a three-year-period.
“Neither patient received any conventional adjuvant treatment” during this time period, investigators wrote. “The tumors regressed over the same period of time that cannabis was consumed via inhalation, raising the possibility that cannabis played a role in tumor regression.”
Researchers concluded, “Further research may be appropriate to elucidate the increasingly recognized effect of cannabis/cannabinoids on gliomas (brain cancers).”
A 2006 pilot study published in the British Journal of Cancer previously reported that the intratumoral administration of the cannabinoid THC was associated with reduced tumor cell proliferation in two of nine human subjects with brain cancer.
Separate preclinical studies assessing the anticancer activity of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids indicate that the substances can inhibit the proliferation of various types of cancerous cells, including breast carcinoma, prostate carcinoma, and lung cancer.
Commenting on the two new case reports, researcher Jahan Marcu — who has previously documented the inhibitory effects of cannabinoids on human glioblastoma cell proliferation and survival — wrote in the blog Freedom Is Green: “Can marijuana contribute to the regression or remission of certain cancers? Given the slow progress of clinical trials for whole plant Cannabis, it can be frustrating waiting for years, even decades, trying to answer these vital questions. But for the two young women with brain cancer in (this) report, a shift to a cannabis lifestyle may have made a difference.”
National Cancer Institute says…..
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is a division of the National Institute of Health, which is itself one of the 11 component agencies that make up the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Last week, the NCI quietly added to its treatment database a summary of marijuana’s medicinal benefits, including an acknowledgment that oncologists may recommend it to patients for medicinal use.
The summary cites clinical trials demonstrating the benefit of medical marijuana. Part of it reads:
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.
Although 34 states have passed laws recognizing marijuana’s medicinal properties and 15 states, plus Washington, D.C., have legalized it for medical use, this is the first time a federal agency has recognized it as medicine. Despite recent developments, Attorney General Eric Holder said in 2009 that the Justice Department would not raid medical marijuana facilities, but at no point did he acknowledge their legitimacy as distribution centers for medicine. A 2001 Supreme Court ruling, meanwhile, declared that medical use of marijuana cannot be considered in any federal court deliberating on a marijuana possession or distribution case.
The new NCI assessment could have an impact on the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, the harshest possible drug classification, which has resulted in a prison population in which 1 in 8 prisoners in the U.S. is locked up for a marijuana-related offense. One of the principal criteria for a Schedule I determination is that there be “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” The U.S. Justice Department may have a hard time maintaining that claim if challenged, considering a federal agency now recognizes marijuana’s medical use in cancer treatment.