"Cannabinoids may cause anti-tumour effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumour angiogenesis invasion and metastasis".
Dennis Hill earned a degree in biochemistry from the University of Houston, worked in medical research at the University of Texas and as of September 2015, resides in California. Following a biopsy in 2010, he was diagnosed with aggressive Stage 4 adenocarcinoma of the prostate. A digital exam revealed metastatic lesions in the bladder and rectum. “Opting out of radiation, chemo and surgery, I chose cannabis extract”, he said. “Within six months the cancer was in remission. I never really noticed any dramatic changes; the cancer just went away. After three months, the primary tumour was gone; after three more months, the metastatic lesions were gone”. Utilising his expert knowledge of human biochemistry, Dennis explains in detail exactly what occurs when a cancer patient ingests cannabinoids.
The other cannabinoid we know is effective in killing cancer cells is cannabidiol (CBD). The primary job of CBD in the cancer cell is to disrupt the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) through the wrecking of the calcium metabolism, pushing calcium into the cytosol. This always results in cell death. Another pathway for CBD to effect cancer cell death is the caspase cascade, which breaks down proteins and peptides in the cell. When this happens the cell cannot survive. Again, these processes are specific to cancer cells, no normal cells are affected. Certain cannabinoids destroy cancerous tumours by working symbiotically with our body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS):
"The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) started revealing itself to researchers in the 1940's and by the late 1960's the basic structure and functionality had been laid out. Today we know the ECS is a comprehensive system of biochemical modulators that maintain homoeostasis in all body systems including the central and peripheral nervous systems, all organ systems, somatic tissues and all metabolic biochemical systems, including the immune system".
This homoeostatic matrix is not a recent evolutionary twist just for humans; we find the ECS in every chordate creature for the last 500 million years. It is a fully mature biochemical technology that has maintained health and metabolic balance for most of the history of life itself.
In every cell there is a family of interconvertible sphingolipids that specifically manage the life and death of that cell. This profile of factors is called the ‘Sphingolipid Rheostat’. If ceramide (a signaling metabolite of sphingosine-1-phosphate) is high, then cell death (apoptosis) is imminent. If ceramide is low, the cell will be strong in its vitality. Very simply, when THC connects to the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptor site on the cancer cell, it causes an increase in ceramide synthesis which drives cell death. A normal healthy cell does not produce ceramide in the presence of THC, thus is not affected by the cannabinoid.
The cancer cell dies, not because of cytotoxic chemicals, but because of a tiny little shift in the mitochondria. Within most cells there is a cell nucleus, numerous mitochondria (hundreds to thousands) and various other organelles in the cytoplasm. The purpose of the mitochondria is to produce energy (ATP) for cell use. As ceramide starts to accumulate, turning up the Sphingolipid Rheostat, it increases the mitochondrial membrane pore permeability to cytochrome c, a critical protein in energy synthesis. Cytochrome c is pushed out of the mitochondria, killing the source of energy for the cell.
Ceramide also causes genotoxic stress in the cancer cell nucleus generating a protein called p53, whose job it is to disrupt calcium metabolism in the mitochondria. If this weren’t enough, ceramide disrupts the cellular lysosome, the cell’s digestive system that provides nutrients for all cell functions. Ceramide, and other sphingolipids, actively inhibit pro-survival pathways in the cell leaving no possibility at all of cancer cell survival. The key to this process is the accumulation of ceramide in the system. This means taking therapeutic amounts of cannabinoid extract, steadily, over a period of time, keeping metabolic pressure on this cancer cell death pathway. How did this pathway come to be? Why is it that the body can take a simple plant enzyme and use it for healing in many different physiological systems? This endocannabinoid system exists in all animal life, just waiting for it’s matched exocannabinoid activator.
Even when the cascade is done and all the cancer is gone, CBD is still at work healing the body. CBD also shuts down the Id-1 gene; a gene that allows metastatic lesions to form. Fundamentally this means that treatment with cannabinoids not only kills cancer through numerous simultaneous pathways, but prevents metastasis. What’s not to like … Nature has designed the perfect medicine that fits exactly with our own immune system of receptors and signaling metabolites to provide rapid and complete immune response for systemic integrity and metabolic homoeostasis.
Expanded from The Biochemist Who Cured His Cancer With Cannabis Oil
For a few simple definitions of some of the more scientific terms used in this article, try Granny Storm Crow's List 'Mini Dictionary'.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, January 2006 - Peripheral cannabinoid receptor, CB2, regulates bone mass
Current Pharmaceutical Design, 2006 - Cannabinoids, immune system and cytokine network
The Journal of Neuroscience, February, 2009 - Cannabidiol Targets Mitochondria to Regulate Intracellular Calcium Levels
The Journal of Cancer Research, March 2005 - Cannabinoid Receptor as a Novel Target for the Treatment of Prostate Cancer
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, November, 2007 - Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells