Many opponents to the use of cannabis as a medicine often cite the majority of patients are not actually sick and are just using cannabis to get ‘high’. This is of course based on an assumption that they know what someone who is ‘sick’ looks like, as if all ailments are visible. Besides this assumption being a fundamental fallacy, what those who make this argument don’t understand is that all cannabis use is therapeutic.
People are rediscovering the vast therapeutic benefits cannabis offers, with the ability to assist in treating a very wide variety of ailments including some of the modern world’s most recent pandemics like cancer (particularly breast, lung and brain), Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, suicide, depression and stress, with many being delivered immediate relief for most if not all their symptoms.
For example, when someone with cancer undergoing chemotherapy vaporises cannabis, they typically experience a marked reduction in nausea and a return of appetite and/or increased appetite. Many people do not take into account just how incredible cannabis is as a preventative medicine and how it therapeutically influences all consumers. Cannabis is easily the most diverse preventative medicine on the planet. Research has found;
- Cannabis may target and kill aggressive breast cancer cells, which may help prevent consumers from getting breast cancer. Breast cancer claims hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide annually. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States (US) where it’s estimated every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and every 13 minutes a woman dies from breast cancer (or the treatment, as chemotherapy alone kills more than it cures).
In 2016 in Australia,
Estimated number of new cases of breast cancer diagnosed
16,084 = 150 males + 15,934 females
Estimated number of deaths from breast cancer
3,073 = 27 males + 3,046 females
Chance of surviving at least 5 years (2008–2012)
Australians living with breast cancer at end of 2010
(diagnosed in the 5 year period 2006 to 2010)
Current treatment options are very costly and not just financially. The pharmaceutical industry, or more specifically the pink ‘breast cancer industry’, is worth billions worldwide (oncology gleans US$80 billion, globally, annually). Many pharmaceuticals are responsible for some extremely debilitating and damaging side effects including fatigue, pain, mucositis (painful mouth and throat sores), nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and/or constipation, blood disorders including (but not limited to) anaemia, nerve damage, cognitive dysfunction, issues with fertility and sexual dysfunction, appetite and hair loss, and some of this damage will be permanent!
For example, some types of chemotherapy may cause permanent damage to the heart, lung, liver, kidneys or the reproductive system. Some people have trouble with thinking, concentrating, memory and nervous system changes for months or years after treatment. Children who had chemotherapy may develop side effects months or years after treatment. These are called late effects. Cancer survivors also have a higher risk of second cancers later in life. The pharmaceutical industry creating repeat business, never a ‘cure’, as that would put some of the more nefarious of them out of business (they are, for the most part, morally bankrupt already).
- People who are already suffering really deserve other options, and a natural option with no toxic side-effects should be offered as a first choice, not a last resort, or not at all, which is still so often the case. Cannabis’ major cannabiniods, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), both possess cancer-fighting properties, with effects amplified when combined. A study in the British Journal of Pharmacology, Targeting multiple cannabinoid anti-tumour pathways with a resorcinol derivative leads to inhibition of advanced stages of breast cancer, found the most effective way to kill breast cancer cells was to harness CBD and THC. While individually CBD and THC can reduce cancer progression, doing so through unique anti-tumour pathways, combining these cannabinoids maximises treatment effectiveness, particularly for patients facing metastatic breast cancer. It is what cannabis scientists call the entourage effect. Essentially, cannabinoids have greater therapeutic value when combined.
- Cannabis doesn’t cause lung cancer, nor does use impair lung function (cannabis is a bronchodilator so is actually good for lung function) and may actually help prevent lung cancer, according to research by Dr Donald Tashkin (2013), “… habitual use of marijuana* alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function when assessed either cross-sectionally or longitudinally, except for possible increases in lung volumes and modest increases in airway resistance of unclear clinical significance. Therefore, no clear link to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has been established. Although marijuana* smoke contains a number of carcinogens and co-carcinogens, findings from a limited number of well-designed epidemiological studies do not suggest an increased risk for the development of either lung or upper airway cancer from light or moderate use … In summary, the accumulated weight of evidence implies far lower risks for pulmonary complications of even regular heavy use … compared with the grave pulmonary consequences of tobacco”.
Anticancer Activity of Cannabinoids from ‘Medicinal Cannabis and Its Impact on Human Health – A Cannabis Documentary’. Dr Donald Tashkin MD (2015) [14:28]
- Cannabis may fight off and potentially prevent brain cancers, according to research first published in Journal of Clinical Investigation (2009). A Spanish study, Cannabinoid action induces autophagy-mediated cell death through stimulation of ER stress in human glioma cells, indicated that induction of autophagy by cannabinoids relies on cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) activation. In their investigations the Spanish researchers found THC caused cancer cells to “auto-digest themselves”, or undergo autophagy,
“We actually discovered a new mechanism by which cannabinoids activate a signalling pathway that invokes what we call autophagy, which would be like the self-digestion of the cells. So, actually, when cannabinoids are binding to the cells, they trigger a cell-signalling mechanism. One of the things they are activating is like a self-digestion of the cell that is leading to cancer cell death“, said Dr Velasco.
The most remarkable thing is, this cell death only happens to cancer cells. Normal cells in the body remain unharmed, protected by the same cannabinoids.
Science Explains How Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells (and much more). Dr Christina Sanchez MD, Molecular Biologist, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain (2014) [5:22]
- Cannabis may help prevent suicides with research indicating cannabis as a helpful medicine against depression and other conditions and issues that may lead to someone being suicidal. This is based on research which found medicinal cannabis states in the US have drastically reduced suicide rates after they approved cannabis as a medicine (especially among young adults). The 2012 German study, High on Life? Medical Marijuana* Laws and Suicide, came to a rosy conclusion:
“The legalisation of medical marijuana* leads to an improvement in the psychological well being of young adult males, an improvement that is reflected in fewer suicides“.
- Cannabis may prevent and help stave off Alzheimer’s disease, an increasingly common illness among the elderly (and not-so-elderly) adults. This is according to research conducted in California, US. Professor David Schubert, senior author of the manuscript, Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, said: “Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells”. A recent study (February 2016) published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease concluded cannabis extract containing THC can relieve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Researchers in Israel conducted the study, which was one of the first clinical studies observing the effects of cannabis on Alzheimer’s. The study, Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Oil for Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia: An-Open Label, Add-On, Pilot Study, observed the effects of cannabis medicine on 11 people living with Alzheimer’s over the course of 4 weeks. Ten participants finished the trial and despite the small size of the study, researchers concluded;
“Adding medical cannabis oil to Alzheimer’s patients’ pharmacotherapy is a safe and promising treatment option”.
- Cannabis may also help people cope with the fast-paced, stressful world we live in. Many people in modern society self-medicate, whether through the help of a physician prescribing narcotic anti-depressants, someone drinking a few glasses of strong liquor after work, or someone jogging in order to release built-up stress. Cannabis, as retired Harvard Psychiatry Professor, Dr Lester Grinspoon said, is an enhancer, something that makes everything from sex to music better. In a world with a lot of hardship and particularly dangerous medications, even someone simply wanting to get ‘high’ may very well be practising a form of self-medication and why not? If there’s a medicine that’s non-lethal, an organic, completely natural herb, why shouldn’t someone consume it? If they’re not knowingly using to self-medicate (what some would refer to as recreational use), they’re still consuming a wonderfully diverse preventative medicine which will help enhance their overall well-being, regardless.
In the US and other jurisdictions around the world, support for the medicinal use of cannabis is at an all time high. In June 2016, on the question of whether people should be allowed to use medically prescribed cannabis, 89% of Americans said they would be in favour, while only 9% were opposed. After voting across the country in early November, twenty-eight US states ended up with some form of legislation on medicinal cannabis.
In late October, 2015, only 7% of Australians were opposed to the herb being made legal for medicinal purposes. In a poll, Australians aged 14 and over were asked: “In your opinion should the use of marijuana* for medicinal purposes be made legal or remain illegal?” 91% said it should be made legal, while 2% were unsure. The strongest support for legalisation came from the 50+ age group, with 94% of respondents in favour. The age group least likely to support it were 14-24 year olds, but even so, 85% of that group said it should be legalised for medicinal use.
The truth, and science, is breaking through decades of lies and propaganda, but not fast enough for some who still suffer needlessly and live in fear of persecution and prosecution. Across the planet we must continue to agitate our elected officials to stop the damage and suffering caused by refusing to end prohibition on a medicinal herb that could essentially improve the health and well-being of every person on the planet.
Expanded from All Marijuana Use Is Medicinal, How Cannabis Treats Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer in Australia, Cancer, Cannabis Treats Brain Cancer, Effects of Medical Marijuana on Alzheimer’s, National poll: Majority supports legalizing marijuana, Global Pharmaceutical Industry, Scientist Explains How Cannabis Kills Cancer, Granny Storm Crow’s List – 2016
*Cannabis sativa L., is the correct botanical term, marijuana is a North American colloquialism