13 October 2015

Molecular Biologist - THC Kills Cancer

From Compultense University in Madrid, Spain, Dr Christina Sanchez has been studying the anti-tumour effects of cannabinoids and in particular, Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component of Cannabis for over a decade. In 2014, she delivered sound information that explained exactly how THC kills cancer cells entirely – without adverse effects to healthy cells.

Her research is an addition to other’s work, such as British scientist, Wai Liu, an Oncologist at the University of London’s St George’s medical school. Liu’s research also reveals how THC has ‘potent anti-cancer activity’ and can significantly ‘target and switch off’ pathways that allow cancers to grow. Liu points out that pharmaceutical companies spend billions on drugs that do the very same thing, while the cannabis plant does it naturally. In the following video, The Endocannabinoid System and How THC Cures Cancer, Dr Sanchez explains exactly how THC does the dirty work of eliminating cancer cells by activating the body’s own cannabinoid receptors, creating endocannabinoids.

What’s more, Cannabis can do this without any psychoactive effects. “There’s quite a lot of cancers that should respond quite nicely to these Cannabis agents”, Liu said. “If you talk about a drug company that spent billions of pounds trying to develop these new drugs that target these pathways, Cannabis does exactly the same thing – or certain elements of cannabis compounds do exactly the same thing – so you have something that is naturally produced which impacts the same pathways that these 'fantastic drugs' that cost billions also work on”.

This comes at an important time when American states are legalising medical Cannabis and the United States (US) Federal Government is receiving pressure to de-list Cannabis as an illegal 'drug' – an archaic and erroneous definition of a plant which the US Fed's say "has no medicinal value", even though they hold Patent No. 6,630,507, Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. Could this be why they are dragging their feet on declassifying this valuable plant? The patent was awarded to the US Fed's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in October 2003. It was filed four years earlier, in 1999, by a group of scientists from the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

The patent claims exclusive rights on the use of cannabinoids for treating neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and diseases caused by oxidative stress, such as heart attack, Crohn’s disease, diabetes and arthritis. It is easy to think of the patent as a patent on Cannabis itself. However, this would be inaccurate, since the patent actually covers non-psychoactive cannabinoids (both synthetic and natural), meaning those that don’t cause a 'high'. The patent also covers only a specific application of these cannabinoids and not the production or use of Cannabis and cannabinoids overall.

Three scientists from the US Department of Health and Human Services said in the abstract - or summary - of their findings submitted with the patent application: 
“The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroproectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke or trauma, or the treatment of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia”.

The patent claims to: “provide a new class of antioxidant drugs, that have particular application as neuroprotectants”. According to the description, the inventors recognised “a previously unanticipated antioxidant property of the cannabinoids in general (and cannabidiol in particular)”. Importantly, the patent does not cover cannabinoids that act through cannabinoid pathways, also known as receptors: “This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”

The US Fed's patent does not cover THC. On the other hand, Cannabidiol (CBD) is specifically mentioned as an example of a cannabinoid that is covered. The patent describes CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids as superior when taken in higher doses. “Non-psychoactive cannabinoids, such as CBD, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses”. According to the description, CBD can be ingested in very large amounts without side effects. “No signs of toxicity or serious side effects have been observed following chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers, even in large acute doses of 700mg/day”. The patent explains that CBD previously had not been considered useful as a neuroprotectant. However, it cites various studies on CBD as an anti-epileptic and as a potential treatment for glaucoma.

Surely they knew it could treat cancer too. In Hindu texts Cannabis was known as ‘sacred grass.’ It has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Cannabis can replace toxic medications and drastically reduce pain. The abstract from a study in 2008, Standardized natural product cannabis in pain management and observations at a Canadian compassion society: a case report, states:

"An adult Caucasian male with excruciating pains following multiple traumas was monitored, daily, over one year while managing chronic pain by self-administering quantifiable amounts of natural cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabidiol, and Cannabinol were all measured in tinctures, capsules, smoke-able product plus some baked goods, prior to their administration. By allowing standardization, the subject was able to develop a daily regimen of pain management that was resistant to a battery of most patent analgesics".

Dr Sanchez and other researchers studies are just adding to the age-old wisdom surrounding the medicinal use of this phenomenal plant. In some parts of the world medicine has come a long way with regard to accepting this plant rather than demonising it falsley as a harmful substance. A plant that can benefit the planet in more ways than one, Cannabis should be offered instead of chemotherapy for cancer. It is important to continue to spread information like this as nobody should deny the tremendous healing power of this plant.

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