Sunday, May 25, 2008

Can Pot Extend Ted Kennedy's Life? Too Bad It's Illegal

Just to clarify: The U.S. does allow cannabioid and glioma research. Our lab just submitted our research on combinations of cannabinoids for the treatment of gliomas invitro... I presented the data at the P.O.T. conference last month but I guess it went unnoticed...
Also our lab FIRST showed that THC selectivley kills gliomas., not the Italian research group.
Heres the video on youtube

Michelle Aldrich wrote:
Can Pot Extend Ted Kennedy's Life? Too Bad It's
By Paul Armentano, NORML
Posted on May 23, 2008, Printed on May 23, 2008

In the 14 years I've worked in marijuana law reform,
few events have struck me as so needlessly tragic as
the federal government's consistent and deliberate
stifling of medical cannabis research. Nowhere is the
Fed's refusal to allow this science more overt and
inhumane than as it pertains to the investigation of
cannabinoids as anti-cancer agents, particularly in
the treatment of gliomas.

As noted in today's wire stories regarding Sen. Edward
Kennedy's diagnosis, glioma is an aggressive form of
cancer that affects an estimated 10,000 Americans
annually. Standard treatments for the cancer include
radiation and chemotherapy, though neither procedure
has proven particularly effective -- the disease kills
approximately half its victims within one year and all
within three years.

But what if there was an alternative treatment for
gliomas that could selectively target the cancer while
leaving healthy cells intact? And what if federal
bureaucrats were aware of this treatment, but
deliberately withheld this information from the

Sadly, the above questions are not hypothetical. As I
originally wrote in a 2004 essay for,
titled Pot Shows Promise as a Cancer Cure":

In fact, the first experiment documenting pot's
anti-tumor effects took place in 1974 at the Medical
College of Virginia at the behest of the U.S.
government. The results of that study, reported in an
Aug. 18, 1974, Washington Post newspaper feature, were
that marijuana's psychoactive component, THC, "slowed
the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a
virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and
prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent."

Despite these favorable preliminary findings, U.S.
government officials banished the study and refused to
fund any follow-up research until conducting a similar
-- though secret -- clinical trial in the mid-1990s.
That study, conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology
Program to the tune of $2 million, concluded that mice
and rats administered high doses of THC over long
periods had greater protection against malignant
tumors than untreated controls.

However, rather than publicize their findings,
government researchers shelved the results, which only
became public after a draft copy of its findings were
leaked in 1997 to a medical journal which in turn
forwarded the story to the national media.

In the years since the completion of the National
Toxicology trial, the U.S. government has yet to fund
a single additional study examining the drug's
potential anti-cancer properties. Is this a case of
federal bureaucrats putting politics over the health
and safety of patients? You be the judge.

Fortunately, in the past 10 years scientists overseas
have generously picked up where U.S. researchers so
abruptly left off, reporting that cannabinoids can
halt the spread of numerous cancer cells -- including
prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer,
pancreatic cancer, and in one human clinical trial,
brain cancer.

Writing earlier this year in the journal Expert Review
of Neurotherapeutics, Italian researchers reiterated,
"(C)annabinoids have displayed a great potency in
reducing glioma tumor growth either in vitro or in
animal experimental models. (They) appear to be
selective antitumoral agents as they kill glioma cells
without affecting the viability of nontransformed
counterparts." Not one mainstream media outlet
reported their findings. Perhaps now they'll pay
better attention.

What possible advancements in the treatment of cancer
may have been achieved over the past 34 years had U.S.
government officials chosen to advance -- rather than
suppress -- clinical research into the anti-cancer
effects of cannabis? It's a shame we have to
speculate; it's even more tragic that the families of
Senator Kennedy and thousands of others must suffer
while we do.

Watch a video of Paul Armentano explaining the
relationship between cannabinoids and giloma.

Paul Armentano is the deputy director for the NORML
Foundation in Washington, D.C.

© 2008 NORML All rights reserved.
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