Cured Too: A Cancer Story: A Film By David Triplett

Cured Too: A Cancer Story: A Film By David Triplett

This is a documentary of how myself and others cured our cancers using an alternative and controversial treatment: cannabis oil. It’s a proven fact that CBD and THC, two of many components in cannabis, shrink tumors and cure cancer. This documentary shows my cancer being cured and explores the history and politics of cannabis and cancer. You will also see samples of many antique cannabis medicine bottles.

MOM CHARGED FOR GIVING SICK CHILD MARIJUANA

NewsWeek: CANNABIS IS A WONDER DRUG WHEN IT COMES TO THE HORRORS OF CHEMO

 

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After a successful surgery to remove a cancer-ridden section of Jeff Moroso’s large intestine in the spring of 2013, the oncologist sat down with his patient to prepare him for what would come next: 12 rounds of punishing chemotherapy, once every two weeks for six months—standard practice for the treatment of colon cancer.

Moroso’s oncologist spent most of that appointment writing prescriptions for medications he said would minimize the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy. He gave Moroso scripts for ondansetron (Zofran) and prochlorperazine (Compazine) for nausea, and lorazepam (Ativan) for anxiety and insomnia. Because the nausea drugs are known to cause gastrointestinal problems and headaches, he also recommended three over-the-counter medications for constipation and one for diarrhea, as well as ibuprofen for pain. In total, he instructed Moroso to take more than a dozen prescription and nonprescription drugs and supplements.

Moroso says the first three rounds of treatment were more awful than he could have ever imagined. After chemotherapy, he felt so ill and weak that he could barely stand up, and it took him days to rebound. And the prescription drugs just made him feel worse. “I felt real sick, incapable of doing anything except for lying there and trying to hang on,” says Moroso, who is 70 and now cancer-free.

Moroso couldn’t afford to lose days of work while he was doing his chemo. He’d heard from friends and read in the paper that cannabis can help a patient through chemotherapy, so he got a letter from his oncologist that allowed him to obtain medical marijuana. (He chose coffee beans infused with 5 milligrams of cannabis, a low dose that he took when he felt he had to.) By the seventh round of chemotherapy, Moroso had dumped his prescription pills. “I would get blasted on the stuff and be happy as a clam, no problems,” he says.

A growing number of cancer patients and oncologists view the drug as a viable alternative for managing chemotherapy’s effects, as well as some of the physical and emotional health consequences of cancer, such as bone pain, anxiety and depression. State legislatures are following suit; medical cannabis is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and more than a dozen other states allow some patients access to certain potency levels of the drug if a physician documents that it’s medically necessary, or if the sick person has exhausted other options. A large number of these patients have cancer, and many who gain access to medical marijuana report that it works.

“A day doesn’t go by where I don’t see a cancer patient who has nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain, depression and insomnia,” says Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of hematology-oncology at San Francisco General Hospital and a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Marijuana, he says, “is the only anti-nausea medicine that increases appetite.”

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It also helps patients sleep and elevates their mood—no easy feat when someone is facing a life-threatening illness. “I could write six different prescriptions, all of which may interact with each other or the chemotherapy that the patient has been prescribed. Or I could just recommend trying one medicine,” Abrams says.

A 2014 poll conducted by Medscape and WebMD found that more than three-quarters of U.S. physicians think cannabis provides real therapeutic benefits. And those working with cancer patients were the strongest supporters: 82 percent of oncologists agreed that cannabis should be offered as a treatment option.

Dr. Benjamin Kligler, associate professor of family and social medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says there has been enough research to prove that at a bare minimum cannabis won’t actually harm a person. In addition, “given what we’ve seen anecdotally in practice I think there’s no reason we shouldn’t see more integration of cannabis in the long run as a strategy,” he says. “We have this extremely safe, extremely useful medicine that could potentially benefits a huge population.”

Some years ago, Dr. Gil Bar-Sela, director of the integrated oncology and palliative care unit at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel conducted two rounds of phone interviews with 131 cancer patients who used cannabis while in chemotherapy; just less than 4 percent of participants reported that they experienced a worsening of symptoms when they started using cannabis and the majority said it helped, according to the resulting paper published, in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2013.

But self-reported data like this is limited when it comes to proving the clinical impact of cannabis. Patients may be biased in their opinions that cannabis is effective, may not accurately document their use of the drug, or may confuse the effects with those of the cancer treatment. In addition, symptoms such as pain are subjective and difficult for a physician to measure.

A paper published recently in JAMA analyzed the findings of 79 studies on cannabinoids for a variety of indications, including nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, appetite stimulation for patients with HIV/AIDS, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis, among other conditions. This review, which accounted for 6,462 patients, found most who used cannabinoids reported improvements to symptoms compared with patients in placebo groups. However, the researchers say these improvements were not statistically significant. The analysis also indicated that cannabinoids had limited impact on symptoms of nausea and vomiting, and a number of patients reported adverse effects from the drug, including dizziness, disorientation, confusion and hallucinations.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in understanding marijuana stems from the fact that it is not a bespoke drug designed to act in a specific way on the body — it’s a complex plant that appears to provide a wealth of health benefits. The cannabis sativa plant contains more than 85 cannabinoids, a variety of chemical compounds that also exist in the body. Just as opioid pills activate the opioid receptors (and limit a person’s perception of pain), cannabinoids in marijuana activate the cannabinoid receptors, located throughout the body, including in the brain, liver and immune system.

To date, we really know about only two of these cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Research into THC and CBD has led to the development of drugs such as dronabinol (Marinol), a synthetic cannabinoid approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy and as an appetite stimulant, anti-nausea and anti-pain medication for AIDS patients. Nabiximols (Sativex), another cannabinoid drug, is THC and CBD that is derived from the plant and delivered as a mouth spray. It’s available in Europe and several other countries—but not yet FDA-approved—for multiple sclerosis patients to treat neurological pain and spasticity. One study on nabiximols for the treatment of cancer-related pain produced disappointing results. However, the GW Pharmaceutical Company, the maker of Sativex, is pushing through with further trials to evaluate the drug as a potential adjunctive therapy for opioids for pain management in patients with advanced cancer.

But how other cannabinoids work together is still much of mystery, says Dr. David Casarett, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and the author of Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana. This means researchers aren’t entirely sure why the plant could help people manage symptoms like nausea and pain. “Marijuana is not as much of a science as it should be,” he says.

In large part, says Casarett, that’s because medical marijuana has proved to be most effective in palliative care, the medical specialty that focuses on managing symptoms of disease and improving a patient’s quality of life—and there is very little funding for palliative care in this country. “That’s changing slowly,” he says, “but it’s still much easier to get funding to test disease-modifying treatments than it is to develop and test palliative therapies, including cannabis.”

We are starting to get some idea of the palliative power of cannabis, Abrams says. “The reason we think we have this whole pathway of the receptors and the endocannabinoids is to get us to forget things, and particularly to get us to forget pain,” he says. In addition, cannabinoids relieve symptoms of nausea because that’s also a physiological reaction stemming from the central nervous system.

With the public perception of marijuana changing rapidly, barriers to studying the plant’s medicinal potential are beginning to fall. Earlier this spring, for example, the Obama administration announced it would remove some of the restrictions on medical marijuana research. In the meantime, though, it is clear that marijuana has a unique and important role to play in cancer care.

“People are realizing that even when patients do well in terms of survival, there’s a lot of suffering along the way that needs to be addressed,” says Casarett. “For many patients, [marijuana] is an opportunity to take control over their disease and symptom management when they can’t get the relief they need from the health care system.”

 

BY JESSICA FIRGER ON 7/22/15 AT 1:26 PM

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5-Year Old Beat Leukemia With Cannabis Oil When Chemotherapy Failed

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Joe Battaglia, Prevent Disease Waking Times

Two years ago, Landon Riddle had acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow which is the most common cancer in children. His mother says his condition improved so much following treatment with medical marijuana that chemotherapy was not needed. But the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, disagreed insisting chemotherapy poisons were the best choice and threatened his mother with legal action and removal of her child from her care.

It all started back in September 2012. Landon, then 2, was living with his mother, Sierra Riddle, in St. George, Utah, when he developed a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. The emergency room doctor said it was a virus and sent him home.

Two days later he went back. His armpits were swollen.

“They thought it was either a virus or infection in the lymph nodes, so they gave him some antibiotics,” Sierra Riddle says.

But on the fifth day, his mother says she was changing his diaper and noticed his groin was also swollen, as well as his abdomen and throat. He was having trouble breathing.

That time, she got a frightening diagnosis: cancer.

Landon was flown to a children’s hospital in Salt Lake City.

“His whole chest was full of leukemia tumors, which is why he couldn’t breathe,” his mother says. “They started him on chemo, but told us that he probably wasn’t going to make it.”

Landon’s cancer had quickly progressed, leading doctors to give him an 8% chance of survival, she says.

In general, ALL is one of the most curable cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 90% of children diagnosed with the disease survive.

Chemotherapy is the standard treatment, and Riddle says doctors put Landon on a four-year treatment plan. The first two months of chemo went fairly well, but then Landon became extremely ill.

“Most days he couldn’t get off the couch,” Riddle remembers. “He would just lay there and throw up and throw up.”

Riddle says he also developed neuropathy — a symptom of nerve damage that can cause weakness, numbness and pain — in his legs that left him barely able to walk.

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Around that time, a friend set up a Facebook page called Offer Hope for Landon, and recommendations started streaming in, including several endorsing cannabis — medical marijuana — as a treatment.

Medical marijuana, however, isn’t legal in Utah. Still, desperate for answers, Sierra Riddle and her mother, Wendy Riddle, started looking into it.

They considered going to California or Oregon. Then their research led them to the Stanley brothers in Colorado. The six brothers are one of that state’s biggest cannabis growers and dispensary owners.

The Stanleys produce about 500 pounds of medical marijuana a year. At the time, much of it was high in THC — tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in pot that gets users high but also helps patients with an array of conditions including pain and nausea.

But the Stanleys were also growing something quite revolutionary: a plant cross-bred to reduce the THC and increase another compound found in cannabis called cannabidiol, or CBD. Many researchers believe CBD is one of the compounds in marijuana that has medicinal benefits. According to the National Cancer Institute, it’s thought to have significant analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activity without the psychoactive effect.

The Stanleys expect to produce over 1,000 pounds this year, most of it the cross-bred variety, according to Joel Stanley.

Riddle, herself a recovering heroin addict, struggled with the idea of giving Landon marijuana.

“I was telling my mom, you know, ‘We really need to think about this.’”

But, says Riddle, her son was already prescribed medications like OxyContin and morphine — medications with significant side effects.

Landon suffered from stomach failure, and “the OxyContin made him so miserable, when he had hair, he would literally try to pull his hair out.”

In the end, she decided she had nothing else to lose and moved to Colorado. She rented a room, got Landon’s medical marijuana card and began giving him marijuana — THC for the pain and nausea, but also CBD. The dose was based on Landon’s weight. He first took it in oil form, but now takes a pill.

Once the doses started, “Landon’s (red and white blood cell) counts increased dramatically,” she says.

Six months later, encouraged by Landon’s progress, she stopped his chemotherapy treatments completely.
“Once I took the chemo out, I see these amazing results. And no more need for blood transfusion and platelet transfusions,” Riddle says. “I think that the chemo in combination with the cannabis did put him into remission and now the cannabis will keep him there.”

But Landon’s doctor at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado was shocked.

“She told me with no uncertainty that if I refused chemo, she would have no choice but to report me to the proper authorities,” Riddle says.

So Riddle found a lawyer willing to take her case.

“Nobody wants to hurt Landon here,” says attorney Warren Edson. “This is about making him better. We have no problem making sure he’s monitored throughout this process. And again, if there’s any indication this is doing him harm, I can’t imagine Sierra doing anything other than the right thing.”

Children’s Hospital Colorado, in a statement, says it is “committed to protecting the well-being of our patients.” The hospital says it cannot discuss specific cases, but provided information from Dr. Stephen Hunger, director of the hospital’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Children’s Hospital Colorado is “one of the largest centers in the country that treats children with ALL,” the statement says.

“The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital Colorado has always done its best to work closely with families to provide the most appropriate treatment for cancer, while also seeking to minimize side effects and maximize quality of life.

“Today, chemotherapy is a required part of therapy for children with leukemia. Many supportive care medications are used in children and adults with cancer, including those considered to be complementary and alternative medicine (also referred to as integrative health).

“Marijuana or a product derived from marijuana is often used to decrease side effects in adults with cancer,” the hospital says. “There are several FDA-approved and commercially available anti-nausea medicines derived from marijuana (cannabinoids) that are frequently used by adults and children with cancer, and we often prescribe these medications.”

In an effort to stave off a legal wrangle, Riddle, her mother and Edson met with the doctors in charge of Landon’s care in October.

“They said they were willing to work with us. They said they were willing to alter the chemo plan, and they did not,” Riddle says.

Child protective services — which Riddle says had already been notified and visited the family’s home — was also at the meeting, along with Dr. Margaret Gedde, who wrote Landon’s original prescription for marijuana and is monitoring his care.
“I could see a large gulf between the doctors who were making the point this is a fatal disease — ‘You know, he needs this treatment to survive,’ and pretty much that was their stance,” says Gedde.

“The family wanted to discuss more alternative modes of treatment and really things that wouldn’t make him so sick, but again, the doctors being convinced that really it had to be done the way that they were used to it (being done) — that just made it very much really a confrontation there of two different mindsets. I felt sympathetic to both.”

Child protection officials declined comment on the case.

“There are many challenges with marijuana research as it relates to cancer,” the organization says in a statement. “While it shows promise for controlling cancer pain among some patients, there is still concern that marijuana may cause toxic side effects in some people and that the benefits of THC must be carefully weighed against its potential risks. There is no available scientific evidence from controlled studies in humans that cannabinoids can cure or treat cancer.”

For now, Landon is still in remission with no sign of recurrence. Still, Gedde is cautious and says she can’t recommend cannabis over chemo.

“When you look at children who go through that same course of treatment and compare Landon to them, it seems like he’s doing better than what would be expected,” she says.

“I’m very hopeful and very encouraged that the CBD is probably having a beneficial effect for him, but I think we’re still looking to have the disease course play out and find out. I think in cancer, you don’t really know until later.”

Wendy Riddle says they have no regrets and will continue to fight.

“It’s not just fighting for Landon. It’s not just about him, it’s about all of the kids to come,” she says. “When Landon is 15 years old and we talk about this, I want Landon to know that we did everything in our power to be compassionate in his care and to protect him.”

Early in 2014, New York governor announced a plan for medical marijuana at hospitals.

Little attention has been given to the long-term side-effects of chemotherapy drugs. This is of paramount importance as long-term effects could considerably compromise patients’ quality of life. Also, a better understanding of the whole spectrum of chemotherapy adverse events–both short and long term–should an issue of investigation for oncologists to refine the use of such therapy, in terms of both scheduling and individual patients’ risks and preferences.

Dr. Robert Atkins, MD, of Atkins Diet fame once announced there are several cures for cancer, but there’s no money in them. They’re natural, effective, and inexpensive, no expensive drugs are involved but they require quite a lot of self-discipline from patients. It costs millions to fund research and clinical trials needed to produce a new cancer drug that can be patented and sold. Often these drugs create more illness. It has been said that the key to success in the health business is to pull off the trick of making people patients for life. Consider how many people who registered a couple of abnormal blood pressure readings have been kept on medication until the medication killed them, when a quick fix course of drugs supported by major changes of diet and lifestyle would have returned their physical condition to an unmedicated healthy state.

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Cannabis And Cancer by huffingtonpost

 

cannabis cure cancer plant oil thc cbdWith ever-increasing costs of conventional healthcare, and continuing issues with insurance coverage, alternative medicine is growing in popularity. Inasmuch as it is still officially denigrated, cannabis is about as “alternative” as it gets.

This, despite no shortage of historic references to cannabis, or its extract marijuana (prepared from the dried and crushed flowers and leaves of the plant) as to its medicinal effects. Chinese Emperors Fu Hsi (2900 BC) and Shen Nung (2700 BC) are said to have touted its healing effects. Some authorities claim that the anointing oil in Exodus 30:22-25 contained cannabis, and that “cane” is a mistranslation from the original Hebrew (1450 BC). Getting more into modern times, marijuana was added to the US Pharmacopeia in 1850, and its use is indicated for an astonishingly diverse litany of illnesses.

According to this PDQ Review from the National Cancer Institute, and referring to this illustration, cannabis may lessen the progression of cancer cells. It also alleviates pain, lowers inflammation and decreases anxiety.

An oft-cited study from 1996 on mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids (any of various chemical constituents of cannabis) may have a protective effect against the development of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma. The study also noted decreased incidences of benign tumors in other organs (mammary gland, uterus, pituitary, testis, and pancreas).

A review article (2006)—appearing in the British Journal of Pharmacology—entitled “Cannabinoids and cancer: pros and cons of an antitumour strategy” listed few cons, and displayed a largely positive picture:

Cannabinoids have the advantage of being well tolerated in animal studies and they do not present the generalized toxic effects of most conventional chemotherapeutic agents. Cannabinoids selectively affect tumor cells more than their nontransformed counterparts that might even be protected from cell death. Even if further in vivo research is required to clarify [their] action in cancer and especially to test their effectiveness in patients, the cannabinoid system represents a promising target for cancer treatment.

As to the palliative aspects of Cannabis during cancer treatment, the official version of things is… curious. According to a recent document from PubMed Health

Several controlled clinical trials have been performed, and meta-analyses of these support a beneficial effect of cannabinoids (dronabinol and nabilone) on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (N/V) compared with placebo. Both dronabinol and nabilone are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prevention or treatment of chemotherapy-induced N/V in cancer patients.

fullextractcannabisoilThus, the FDA has approved two drugs, which are nothing more than synthetic versions of chemicals in cannabis. In addition to the anti-nausea/vomiting properties, dronabinol is used to treat loss of appetite in people with AIDS. Analgesic properties are also claimed for both drugs.

However, owing to the bizarre stigmatization of cannabis, and the difficulty in obtaining proper clearance to study it in clinical settings, there is only a limited amount of published research available on the palliative properties of the source plant itself. Yet, anecdotal evidence of its effects is widely disseminated.

The website Surviving Mesothelioma offers inspiring stories of several people who have survived this rare form of cancer. The disease develops from cells of the mesothelium, a membrane that protects the body’s major internal organs and allows them freedom of movement (for example, lung contractions). The five-year survival rate is poor—at nine percent or less—and has not improved much over the last 30 years.

The chronicle of Andy Ashcraft is quite compelling. He was diagnosed with late stage pleural mesothelioma in 2010, and given three months to a year. Far from being resigned to this fate, Andy and his wife investigated and embarked on alternative therapies, including cannabis oil. Six years later, alive and well, he really has beaten the odds, and is another one of those “anecdotal” cases of an alternative approach success.

The stigmatization of cannabis is fading, but it won’t come easy. After all, lining up on the other side are Big Pharma and Big Law Enforcement. But if a therapy works, and it costs less…

Michael D. Shaw

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Study Finds Cannabis Compounds Can Kill Cancer Cells

Study Finds Cannabis Compounds Can Kill Cancer Cells

cancerA scientist in the United Kingdom has found that compounds derived from marijuana can kill cancerous cells found in people with leukemia, a form of cancer that is expected to cause an estimated 24,000 deaths in the United States this year.

“Cannabinoids have a complex action; it hits a number of important processes that cancers need to survive,” study author Dr. Wai Liu, an oncologist at the University of London’s St. George medical school, told The Huffington Post. “For that reason, it has really good potential over other drugs that only have one function. I am impressed by its activity profile, and feel it has a great future, especially if used with standard chemotherapies.”

Liu’s study was recently published in the journal Anticancer Research. It was supported by funding from GW Pharmaceuticals, which already makes a cannabis-derived drug used to treat spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.

The study looked at the effects of six different non-psychoactive cannabinoids — compounds derived from marijuana that do not cause the “high” associated with its THC ingredient — when applied alone, and in combination, to leukemia cells. Cannabinoids displayed a “diverse range of therapeutic qualities” that “target and switch off” pathways that allow cancers to grow, Liu told U.S. News & World Report.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Liu stressed that that his research was built around the testing of the six purified cannabinoid forms — not traditional cannabis oil, which Liu described as “crude” in comparison and generally containing 80-100 different cannabinoids. “We do not really know which are the ones that will be anticancer and those that may be harmful,” Liu said.

During the study, Liu and his team grew leukemia cells in a lab and cultured them with increasing doses of the six pure cannabinoids, both individually and in combination with each other. His study says the six cannabinoids were CBD (Cannabidiol), CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid), CBG (Cannbigerol), CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid), CBGV (Cannabigevarin) and CBGVA (Cannabigevaric acid). Liu and his team then assessed the viability of the leukemia cells and determined whether or not the cannabinoids destroyed the cells or stopped them from growing.

Although promising, Liu also said that it remains unclear if the cannabinoid treatment would work on the 200-plus existing types of cancer.

“Cancer is an umbrella term for a range of diseases that fundamentally differ in their cellular makeup, [and] which occur as a result of disturbances to growth controls,” Liu said. “Chemotherapy works by disrupting these dysfunctional growth signals. Therefore, any cancers that have these profiles should respond to the chemotherapy. It just so happens that a number of cannabinoids can target these very same mechanisms that make cancer what it is, and so any cancer that exhibits these faults should respond well to cannabinoids. The flip side is, of course, that other cancers may not have these same genetic faults and so cannabinoids may not work as well.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 7.6 million people die from various forms of cancer each year worldwide.

When asked if smoking marijuana has the same or similar effects as ingesting the pure cannabinoid compounds he studied, Liu said he thinks it’s unlikely.

“Smoking cannabis introduces a number of potential problems,” Liu said. “First, the complex makeup of cannabis that contains about 80 bioactive substances means that the desired anticancer effect may be lost because these compounds may interfere with each other. Second, we see that delivering the drug either by injection or by a tablet would ensure the most effective doses are given. Smoking would be variable, and indeed the heat of the burning may actually destroy the useful nature of the compounds.”

In 2012, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that CBD (cannbidiol), a non-toxic, non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer.

The National Cancer Institute has also funded some research into cannabis and cancer, including a 2012 study that looked at the effects cannabis compounds have on slowing the progression of breast cancer, spokesman Michael Miller told U.S. News and World Report. However NCI has not funded research on the effects of cannabinoids on leukemia.

Liu stressed that much work is still needed, and said that finding support for marijuana-derived medicines can be polarizing.

“Although there is much promise, I struggle to find enough support to drive this work on,” Liu said. “The mention of cannabinoids can polarize the public, who understandably link cannabis smoking with cannabis-derived drugs.”

Liu told the Seattle PI’s Pot Blog that he hopes to start clinical trials involving humans in 12 to 18 months.

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TEDxTalks: The surprising story of medical Cannabis and pediatric epilepsy: Josh Stanley at TEDxBoulder 2013

TEDxTalks

The surprising story of medical Cannabis and pediatric epilepsy: Josh Stanley at TEDxBoulder 2013

Published on Oct 14, 2013

Josh will sift through the propaganda, fear and greed encompassing medical marijuana. Recently featured on CNN, Josh and his brothers developed a non-psychotropic strain of marijuana which is drastically reducing seizures for many pediatric epilepsy patients in Colorado. With millions facing life-threatening illnesses, Josh outlines the hurdles needed to effect social change and maps a path toward helping those who desperately need revolutionary medicine.

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Study shows non-hallucinogenic cannabinoids are effective anti-cancer drugs

medical-marijuanaNew research has shown that the non-hallucinogenic components of cannabis could act as effective anti-cancer agents.

The anti-cancer properties of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary hallucinogenic component of cannabis, has been recognised for many years, but research into similar cannabis-derived compounds, known as cannabinoids, has been limited.

The study was carried out by a team at St George’s, University of London. It has been published in the journal Anticancer Research.

The team, led by Dr Wai Liu and colleagues carried out laboratory investigations using a number of cannabinoids, either alone or in combination with each other, to measure their anti-cancer actions in relation to leukaemia.

Of six cannabinoids studied, each demonstrated anti-cancer properties as effective as those seen in THC. Importantly, they had an increased effect on cancer cells when combined with each other.

Dr Liu said: “This study is a critical step in unpicking the mysteries of cannabis as a source of medicine. The cannabinoids examined have minimal, if any, hallucinogenic side effects, and their properties as anti-cancer agents are promising.

“These agents are able to interfere with the development of cancerous cells, stopping them in their tracks and preventing them from growing. In some cases, by using specific dosage patterns, they can destroy cancer cells on their own.

“Used in combination with existing treatment, we could discover some highly effective strategies for tackling cancer. Significantly, these compounds are inexpensive to produce and making better use of their unique properties could result in much more cost effective anti-cancer drugs in future.”

This latest research is part of a growing portfolio of studies into the medicinal properties of cannabis by the research team at St George’s. The next step will be to examine in the laboratory these compounds in combination with existing anti-cancer treatments and study treatment schedules to identify strategies that will maximise their efficacy.

The study examined two forms of cannabidiol (CBD), two forms of cannabigerol (CBG) and two forms of cannabigevarin (CBGV). These represent the most common cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant apart from THC.

Ends

Notes to Editors

For more information or interviews, contact St George’s, University of London Communications on 0208 725 1139 or at media@sgul.ac.uk.

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant from Central Asia that is grown in many parts of the world today. It is a controlled substance in the UK and is most commonly known as a recreational drug.

Cannabinoids are active chemicals in cannabis. They are also known more specifically as phytocannabinoids. There are 85 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. The main active cannabinoid in Cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The cannabis plant is known for its medicinal properties and has been used to relieve symptoms associated with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, anxiety, depression, and numerous other illnesses and conditions.

Read the full research paper in the journal Anticancer Researchhttp://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/33/10/4373.abstract

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