Marijuana and cancer – what are facts and what’s just smoke

Editor’s note–this article has been updated and included into a multi-part series on marijuana and medicine. Check it out there. 

If you spend any amount of time on Twitter, Facebook, or just researching cancer treatments on the internet, you will run across something about marijuana and cancer – someone will claim that smoking pot, eating pot, hemp oil (which is manufactured from the seeds of cannabis plants that don’t contain much THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the active hallucinogenic agent of cannabis), or some other consumption of cannabis will cure or prevent cancer.

Of one hand, studies of cannabis’ effectiveness in reducing nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy, one of the the most common claims,  has generated negative results in some well done clinical trials and some positive results in others. But that has nothing to do with actually curing or preventing the cancer itself, just dealing with the effects of the treatment.

Scientific evidence for marijuana and cancer

 

So, is there any evidence out there that actual cannabis or its byproducts have any effect on cancers? Before we start, let’s remember that there are 100 to over 200 different types of cancer (the actual number depends on how some researchers subdivide some types) in humans. And each of these different cancers have different pathophysiologies, different genetics, different prognoses, different causes, and different treatments. In other words, it is not one singular disease with one unified course of treatment.

Always be skeptical when someone makes some claim that “XYZ cures or prevents cancer”, because that’s going to be nearly impossible. Every cancer is so different with such different physiology, there is just never going to be a magic pill.

So before I head down the the road of whether THC or cannabis has any effect on any particular, I’m not going to play the argument from ignorance. If there isn’t any evidence that pot cures a particular cancer, then that means there’s no evidence. I’m not going to think “oh, they just haven’t tested it on THAT cancer, so how can you not be sure that pot doesn’t cure THAT cancer.” I also don’t have evidence there’s a pink unicorn walking on Mars, but I’m fairly certain of it.

The first step I take before I investigate any internet claim is check if there are  systematic reviews of randomized clinical research to find the best information for evidence based medicine.

A search of the Cochrane Reviews, one of the best sources of systematic reviews in clinical medicine, shows not one systematic review of THC or cannabis in cancer therapies (although several in some mental health issues, which may be a topic for some other article). There are reasons why Cochrane may not have a review can be many, but mainly it’s because there just aren’t enough studies of high enough quality to roll up into a systematic review. That’s a clue, but it’s more a lack of evidence rather than solid evidence that cannabis has no effect on cancer.

Look at it another way–there are currently over 8000 clinical trials that are recruiting patients for anti-cancer drugs (and over 19000 that are closed to patients). Cannabis research is a tiny speck (though not an insignificant speck) of the cancer research world, compared to the vast body of research currently ongoing.

Cancer research isn’t randomly throwing compounds at cells and seeing if they work or not, it’s a logical process to determine if a compound has a reasonable chance of inhibiting some part of the cancer growth or development. There is some potential for cannabis, but it probably doesn’t compare to what is currently in the 27,000 compounds in current clinical research, and, in a business sense, the return on investment for researching compounds that have better understood pharmacologic mechanisms of action are higher.

 
 

Many claims about marijuana and cancer

 

Let’s see what’s going on recently. Remember, if some article was published 10 years ago, and there’s not one single follow-up study, it’s dead on the vine, meaning that no one was able to repeat the data. No one was able to move it from some cell-culture or animal model to a human clinical trial. This happens all of the time, because failure in oncology drugs is the norm.

  • Cannabinoids: A new hope for breast cancer. “This review summarizes our current knowledge on the anti-tumor potential of cannabinoids in breast cancer, which suggests that cannabinoid-based medicines may be useful for the treatment of most breast tumor subtypes.” Now, you might think that smoking a joint is going to cure breast cancer. No, it won’t. The initial studies are done in cell culture, not in human clinical trials. Furthermore, the active ingredient must be delivered in the correct dosage over the correct amount of time at the actual tumor site to cause death of the cancer cells. This type of research will take years, even if it is successful. Smoking or consuming pot would never produce a THC level high enough at the breast cancer site to kill the cancer death. In fact, to do so might be harmful to the patient, so, as they say, don’t try this at home.
  • Chemopreventive effect of the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol on experimental colon cancer. The authors concluded that  cannabidiol, a non psychotropic ingredient of cannabis, can exert a chemopreventive effect on colon cells in cell culture. But once again, this has been shown in humans and has not shown whether there is a dose response that works. So, eating a bunch of cannabis is not going to work, and the amount necessary to match the cell culture levels would probably be toxic.
  • Hash Oil for Gliomas? What Would You Do? The authors found little credible evidence, though they found studies that showed spontaneous regression of gliomas. Except spontaneous regression of gliomas is not unknown, and fairly common. There was some preliminary evidence that it might work, but hardly a broad based clinical trial that would indicate an oncologist should use hash oil as his first, second, third, fourth or fifth line of treatment for a glioma. As the author stated, “I didn’t find anything I would call “earth-shattering” or even anything that could be considered credible evidence that hash oil can cure advanced gliomas.”
  • Cannabis use and risk of lung cancer: a case-control study. “In conclusion, the results of the present study indicate that long-term cannabis use increases the risk of lung cancer in young adults.” More evidence that smoking marijuana greatly increases risk of lung cancer. To be fair, the evidence is conflicting, but there appears to be increased risks for some types of cancer amongst marijuana smokers.
  • Cannabis and cannaboids anti-tumor effects from the National Cancer Institute. There might appear to be a lot of research into cannabis using cell culture and animal models, but none have been transferred over to human clinical trials. This is not unusual, because even though it seems that there is a lot of research into cannabis and cancer, the total mass of research into other compounds with respect to cancer is substantially larger, because the evidence for both mechanisms of the treatment and clinical successes for these other products are much higher.
  • As of today, there has been only one clinical trial anywhere in the world that attempted to show an effect of any cannabis or cannabis products on cancer. It was a Phase I clinical trial, published six years ago, and has not gone any further. A review of PubMed and clinicaltrials.gov show no other clinical trials underway studying cannabis on any type of cancers.
  • A four year old study/editorial published in a top journal concluded that “cannabis-like compounds offer therapeutic potential for the treatment of breast, prostate and bone cancer in patients. Further basic research on anti-cancer properties of cannabinoids as well as clinical trials of cannabinoid therapeutic efficacy in breast, prostate and bone cancer is therefore warranted.” Now, their conclusion was based on preliminary evidence in vivo and in vitro studies, not randomized human clinical trials. Moreover, I cannot find any publication over the past four years that seem to support the ideas proposed by this study. It seems to be another dead end.

Marijuana and cancer–simple math

 

Let’s say that we actually can gather evidence that marijuana has an effect on breast cancer. First, we need to determine how much THC actually would kill most breast cancer cells. In one study, the researchers determined that it would take a concentration of cannabinoids of approximately 10 µmol/L to cause the death breast cancer cells in cell culture.

This converts to around 3.14mg/L of THC. So, you’d have to assume that to kill any breast cancer cells, you’d need at least a blood level of 3.14 mg/L to cause breast cancer cell death.

So how close to that 3.14 mg/L can we get by just smoking a joint or two? According to research, smoking one cigarette will give you a blood level of THC of around 1.3-6.4 ng/mL serum, or about .00013-.00064 mg/L. In other words, to get the anti-cancer effect that is described in the breast cancer study, you would need to light up around 1000 marijuana cigarettes per day.

Yes, you would need to smoke over 1000 cannabis joints every single day until every single breast cancer cell would die. Of course, your lungs couldn’t tolerate that, nor probably your ability to function in any “normal” manner.

Of course, you could consume this in other ways, for example ingesting it, but again, you’d need to eat more than 1000 joints (because less digestion is less efficient in absorbing THC than the lungs, which is why it is smoked). And these levels may be more generally toxic to body, in effect killing you. If we ever uncover clinical evidence that marijuana “cures” breast cancer, Big Pharma will spend the money researching which molecule is actually responsible for killing the cancer cell, the overall toxic dose where the cannabis (or active ingredient) which harms the body more than cancer cells, the amount necessary to kill the cancer cells, and how to deliver it effectively to the breast cancer cell.

And yes, Big Pharma will patent it, because they did all the hard work, and they will get $10,000 a dose (just a guess). So, let’s be clear. Smoking a couple of joints is NOT going to cure or prevent breast cancer.

 

Big Pharma and cannabis

 

I have heard the arguments that Big Pharma, the FDA, the National Cancer Institute (if the cannabis supporters even know it exists), and the US Government suppress all the research that show how great cannabis is for cancer because those groups don’t want marijuana to be legal. As amusing as that ad hominem argument might be (and it’s a fairly amusing one), if cannabis or any of its components actually could show efficacy against any of the 200 or so cancers, Big Pharma would be all over it.

Big Pharma would not be selling individual cannabis cigarettes, they would be isolating the active ingredient from the plant (or parts of the plant), determining the exact dose that would have an exact effect, determining how to deliver precisely to the cancer site, funding clinical trials, filing documentation with the FDA, then getting it into physician’s hands.

This is not an easy process (notwithstanding the $1 billion investment for the whole process), but it would probably be a profitable one if it worked. Big Pharma and the National Cancer Institute are looking at everything to treat all 200 cancers, and they ignore nothing for potential. If cannabis works (and it might), they will be all over it. Big Pharma is providing a lot of the funding for it.

Conclusion, the TL;DR version

 

  • So, does marijuana  prevent or cure cancer? There is little evidence that it prevents cancer and a little evidence that it can cure cancer. But these are very limited in vivo and animal studies, very preliminary and not in controlled clinical trials. Just to give a little perspective, less than 8% (pdf) of oncology drugs that enter clinical trials actually end up being approved for use in humans.
  • Maybe in time, cannabis will have its place in the armamentarium of anti-cancer drugs if the pre-clinical studies meet the standards of scientific research and are repeated. The science should also identify an appropriate mechanism and what the active ingredient might be. In time, if it can be shown in clinical trials and be approved by the FDA, then it can be important. But right now, it’s mostly mythical. There really isn’t much here, just some initial research, some of which seems “interesting.”
  • One last thing. If the goal is to make pot legal, because there’s a group that wants to smoke pot for recreational purposes, that’s fine. But to do it on the back of trying to prove that cannabis has some medical value that isn’t based on real science? That’s just going to make people dispute all of your claims.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2012. It has been completely revised and updated to include more comprehensive information, to improve readability and to add current research.

Key citations:

 

The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!
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  • Dante Amato

    I am unable to post this in the Success Stories for whatever reason, so I posted here. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer on October 18, 2013. I was advised by my doctor that my only options were to get a prostatectomy or have radiation seeds implanted in my prostate or receive regular external beam radiation. I declined. I knew there had to be other options.
    I scoured the Internet and discovered a wealth of information about cannabis oil curing cancer. I was able to obtain some medical marijuana oil (Rick Simpson Oil) from it and consumed the recommended dosage by mid January.
    On January 26th I had a cancer reassessment which consisted of an MRI with a state of the art Tesla 3 MRI machine. Results – NO SIGN OF CANCER! CANCER FREE!
    One of the things that helped me while going through all this was reading the testimonials and the success stories of those who have used the oil and were cured And with good food diet. Now that this wonderful oil has cured me, I feel I need to let others know as well. Please feel free to contact me ask anything should you like more information or directly contact to Rick Simpson at: phoenixtearsoil8@gmail.com were i purchased cannabis oil. Thank you, Dante Amato.

  • rose joel

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  • dicker

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  • Aliquot

    Nowhere in this article did I actually see you analyze any data from these studies. You just made unsubstantiated claims and logical fallacies to the negative side.

    ““This review summarizes our current knowledge on the anti-tumor
    potential of cannabinoids in breast cancer, which suggests that
    cannabinoid-based medicines may be useful for the treatment of most
    breast tumor subtypes.” Now, you might think that smoking a joint is
    going to cure breast cancer. No, it won’t. The initial studies are done
    in cell culture, not in human clinical trials. Furthermore, the active
    ingredient must be delivered in the correct dosage over the correct
    amount of time at the actual tumor site to cause death of the cancer
    cells. This type of research will take years, even if it is successful.
    Smoking or consuming pot would never produce a THC level high enough at
    the breast cancer site to kill the cancer death. In fact, to do so might
    be harmful to the patient, so, as they say, don’t try this at home.”

    You claim a joint wont cure cancer because the THC level will not be high enough. What was the concentration of THC used in these studies? What is the level smoking a joint produces in the blood? You may well be right, but you have made unsubstantiated claims about it not working. Cannabis preparations for cancer should be oral and large doses, but low doses might work for some situations.

    “The authors concluded that cannabidiol, a non psychotropic ingredient
    of cannabis, can exert a chemopreventive effect on colon cells in cell
    culture. But once again, this has been shown in humans and has not shown
    whether there is a dose response that works. So, eating a bunch of
    cannabis is not going to work, and the amount necessary to match the
    cell culture levels would probably be toxic.”

    How do you know the amount would be toxic? And cannabinoids are actually incredibly non-toxic. More unsubstantiated claims. You did a very poor job at trying to discredit these studies.

    The clinical trials are not being done because of social, political and economic reasons, not scientific ones. The thing is for the science to be done it needs social, political and economic support. So when you tell people to leave it to the scientists to figure it out, well they can’t. The system is rigged for it to be prohibitively difficult for these studies to be done.

    Furthermore, we don’t need clinical trials to know if cannabis is safe. 12 000 years without an overdose death is probably good enough for most. Cannabis should be GRAS like most other herbs such as dill, parsley or basil.

    • You apparently missed my point. How the hell do you apply what is found in cell culture to human biology. You can’t. Not until clinical trials are done. And with less than 10% of “drugs” making it from pre-clinical work to actual gold standard clinical trials, I’m not holding my breath.

      Your invented and lame strawman argument about why there are no clinical trials is laughable and unscientific. Won’t respond to stupidity here.

      Cannabis is unsafe, not because it’s cannabis, but because it’s a pollutant to the lungs. More stupidity from you.

      Oh, and the appeal to antiquity of “12,000 years” shows your pseudoscience bent and lack of serious credibility in science. So how much does the Mexican Drug Cartel pay you to post here? I thought so.

      • Aliquot

        Apparently you missed my point. The fact that we don’t know what concentration of cannabinoid would work in humans means that your claim “Smoking or consuming pot would never produce a THC level high enough at ‘the breast cancer site to kill the cancer death.” is unsubstantiated. You just said the clinical trials haven’t been done, and yet your telling us that consuming pot (without specifying any dose) will never produce a THC level high enough. How do you know? You haven’t presented any evidence and have made an unsubstantiated claim just like those claiming “cannabis cures cancer”. Saying we don’t know is correct, but you have thrown in some absolute statements without any evidence.

        Cancer patients obviously shouldn’t smoke cannabis, it should be extracted and formulated into whatever preparation would allow high bio-availability and proper delivery to the tumor site. However, there are currently many blocks to this research. To start off the cannabis needs to be grown in a standardized and controlled manner to assure quality, however researchers attempting this first step have been stonewalled….

        Here you can read about Lyle Craker a specialist in growing medicinal plants and hear from him how hard it has been to be allowed to do research. These are political institutions that are blocking research. This is not a strawman argument, it is a reality…
        http://www.wbur.org/2013/02/21/medical-marijuana-research-umass

        Rick Doblin: The source is really NIDA, the National Institute on
        Drug Abuse. The University of Mississippi grows under contract to NIDA.
        They have a grant, a five-year grant. And then NIDA decides where their
        marijuana gets allocated.

        They’ve actually claimed that they have over 100,000 grams. We’ve
        spent seven years trying to buy 10 grams for research with vaporizers.
        (Vaporizers heat the marijuana up; they don’t burn it.) And we were
        rejected after seven years of effort.

        We’re working right now with MDMA, ecstasy, with post-traumatic
        stress disorder in veterans. And we’re getting great results, and we
        have approval. We’ve got a marijuana PTSD protocol that has been
        approved by FDA and an institutional review board at the University of
        Arizona, and the public health service and NIDA have refused to supply
        us the marijuana.

        Only marijuana has a single producer monopolized by the federal
        government, in the agency that has a vested interest in preventing
        research being done into the beneficial uses.

        So Professor Craker has petitioned for permission to grow
        marijuana for research, and this case is still pending. Can you explain?

        Rick Doblin: Starting in the year 2000, after I had had — MAPS had
        had two marijuana studies approved by FDA and rejected by NIDA, so we
        couldn’t do them, I spent a year looking for the Rosa Parks of medical
        marijuana litigation. And I ended up finding Lyle.

        2001 was the first submission that he made to the DEA for a license.
        In 2007, the DEA administrative law judge ruled that it would be in the
        public interest for Lyle to get a license. And the DEA administrator
        rejected the recommendation. And now we’re in the appeals court, waiting
        for a ruling.”

        Actual researchers trying to do these studies are being blocked by the government, that is why the studies aren’t happening in the US…

        • Mike Schärer

          Does anyone have information on how blood plasma levels are related to concentrations at the tumour site? For information about blood plasma THC levels see:

          “In general, the anti-neoplastic effects of Δ9-THC appear to be biphasic: lower doses (under 100 nM), comparable to those typically seen in clinical or therapeutic settings, are considered pro-proliferative; higher doses (above 100 nM) are thought to be anti-proliferative”

          “Smoking a 1 g joint containing 12.5% Δ9-THC can be assumed, based on the literature, to yield peak plasma Δ9-THC concentrations between 50 and 100 ng/mL or more (see section 3.1 “Smoking”, subsection “Plasma concentrations of Δ9-THC following smoking”). Such Δ9-THC plasma concentrations correspond to 0.16 and 0.32 μM (or 160 and 320 nM) Δ9-THC, respectively. ”

          http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/marihuana/med/infoprof-eng.php#chp489

  • Aliquot

    Cannabigerol (CBG) is a safe non-psychotropic Cannabis-derived
    cannabinoid (CB), which interacts with specific targets involved in
    carcinogenesis. Specifically, CBG potently blocks transient receptor
    potential (TRP) M8 (TRPM8), activates TRPA1, TRPV1 and TRPV2 channels,
    blocks 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1A (5-HT1A) receptors and inhibits
    the reuptake of endocannabinoids. Here, we investigated whether CBG
    protects against colon tumourigenesis. Cell growth was evaluated in
    colorectal cancer
    (CRC) cells using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazole-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl
    tetrazolium bromide and 3-amino-7-dimethylamino-2-methylphenazine
    hydrochloride assays; apoptosis was examined by histology and by
    assessing caspase 3/7 activity; reactive oxygen species (ROS) production
    by a fluorescent probe; CB receptors, TRP and CCAAT/enhancer-binding
    protein homologous protein (CHOP) messenger RNA (mRNA) expression were
    quantified by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction; small
    hairpin RNA-vector silencing of TRPM8 was performed by electroporation.
    The in vivo antineoplastic effect of CBG was assessed using mouse models
    of colon cancer.
    CRC cells expressed TRPM8, CB1, CB2, 5-HT1A receptors, TRPA1, TRPV1 and
    TRPV2 mRNA. CBG promoted apoptosis, stimulated ROS production,
    upregulated CHOP mRNA and reduced cell growth in CRC cells. CBG effect
    on cell growth was independent from TRPA1, TRPV1 and TRPV2 channels
    activation, was further increased by a CB2 receptor antagonist, and
    mimicked by other TRPM8 channel blockers but not by a 5-HT1A antagonist.
    Furthermore, the effect of CBG on cell growth and on CHOP mRNA
    expression was reduced in TRPM8 silenced cells. In vivo, CBG inhibited
    the growth of xenograft tumours as well as chemically induced colon
    carcinogenesis. CBG hampers colon cancer
    progression in vivo and selectively inhibits the growth of CRC cells,
    an effect shared by other TRPM8 antagonists. CBG should be considered
    translationally in CRC prevention and cure.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25269802

    • ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

      Show me a gold standard double blind randomized clinical trial and I won’t mock you any more. Until then, you’re like any pseudoscience pushing ignoramus, you just post random shit that when you dig into it…it’s a freaking mouse. We’ve cured “cancer” in mice 100,000 times. A tiny tiny tiny percentage has ever been applied to humans.

      Oh, and good cherry picking there. Another sign of real pseudoscience. LOL

      • Aliquot

        Posting a single Abstract is not pseudoscience. I did not make any claims or try to say it implied anything. You seemingly assumed I meant that CBG cures cancer. This was a response to many parts of your post, I’ll point it out for you..

        “The science should also identify an appropriate mechanism and what the active ingredient might be.”

        You write as if these mechanisms and ingredients are still a mystery. This is one of many constituents of cannabis which is reported to have anti-neoplastic properties, and research which continues to elucidate the mechanisms.

        As for the diversity of cancers, cannabis acts on aspects they share (CB receptors, as well as TVPRM receptors and many receptor independent mechanisms). Cannabinoids are essential molecules for signaling for appetite and eating. Anorexia and cachexia are responsible for a large amount of deaths (Often reported 20% of cancer deaths in text books and classes but hard to find an original citation). There are thousands of years of medical documents citing cannabis as useful for appetite, it is common knowledge. But since we don’t have government “approved” studies it can’t be decisively known. There is plenty of evidence about the blocking of this research, and to claim otherwise is being ignorant of the facts or lying and i posted evidence in my last post.

        A survey of cannabis use in Israeli cancer patients found that its use had beneficial effects on many symptoms and was found to be very effective. These are very preliminary studies, but they are all supportive of the hypothesis.

        “Of
        approximately 17,000 cancer patients seen, 279 (<1.7%) received a
        permit for cannabis from an authorized institutional oncologist. The
        median age of cannabis users was 60 years (range 19–93 years), 160 (57%)
        were female, and 234 (84%) had metastatic disease. Of 151 (54%)
        patients alive at six months, 70 (46%) renewed their cannabis permit.
        Renewal was more common among younger patients and those with metastatic
        disease. Of 113 patients alive and using cannabis at one month, 69
        (61%) responded to the detailed questionnaire. Improvement in pain,
        general well-being, appetite, and nausea were reported by 70%, 70%, 60%,
        and 50%, respectively. Side effects were mild and consisted mostly of
        fatigue and dizziness."

        ….The
        vast majority of the participants who completed the detailed
        questionnaire stated that cannabis use was associated with an
        improvement in all aspects that were surveyed, and 83% of them graded
        the overall efficacy of cannabis as high. These efficacy data are
        striking compared with reported Phase III trials.

        6

        8

        19

        The demographic and clinical characteristics of these patients are similar to those of the entire group (

        Table 1

        ). As only
        patients actively using cannabis at one month were asked to complete
        the questionnaire, the results may be affected by a selection bias. It
        is also possible that those who benefited from cannabis were more likely
        to respond to the questionnaire. Yet, it is still clear that a
        significant portion of the patients perceive the treatment as highly
        effective. It is possible that the natural plant is more effective than
        either the synthetic cannabinoids or the pure extracts that were tested
        in previous trials.

        20

        Alternatively, the major beneficial effect of cannabis may be its
        psychoactivity. Indeed, a meta-analysis evaluating the efficacy of
        cannabinoids on CINV noted a clear preference for treatment with
        cannabinoids, despite the marginal objective effect on CINV.

        6"

        -From: Patterns of Use of Medical Cannabis Among Israeli Cancer Patients: A Single Institution Experience

        CBG acts as an antagonist on TRPM8 and it elicits similar pathways as THC throuch CB1 agonism. CBD has receptor independent anti-cancer mechanisms. There are hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes, and as the story is revealed by researchers we see they often have synergy through different mechanisms to elicit similar pathways.

        "Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been the primary focus of cannabis
        research since 1964, when Raphael Mechoulam isolated and synthesized it.
        More recently, the synergistic contributions of cannabidiol to cannabis
        pharmacology and analgesia have been scientifically demonstrated. Other
        phytocannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabigerol and
        cannabichromene, exert additional effects of therapeutic interest.
        Innovative conventional plant breeding has yielded cannabis chemotypes
        expressing high titres of each component for future study. This review
        will explore another echelon of phytotherapeutic agents, the cannabis
        terpenoids: limonene, myrcene, α-pinene, linalool, β-caryophyllene,
        caryophyllene oxide, nerolidol and phytol. Terpenoids share a precursor
        with phytocannabinoids, and are all flavour and fragrance components
        common to human diets that have been designated Generally Recognized as
        Safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory
        agencies. Terpenoids are quite potent, and affect animal and even human
        behaviour when inhaled from ambient air at serum levels in the single
        digits ng·mL−1. They display unique therapeutic effects that
        may contribute meaningfully to the entourage effects of cannabis-based
        medicinal extracts. Particular focus will be placed on
        phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions that could produce synergy with
        respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety,
        addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections (including
        methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Scientific
        evidence is presented for non-cannabinoid plant components as putative
        antidotes to intoxicating effects of THC that could increase its
        therapeutic index. Methods for investigating entourage effects in future
        experiments will be proposed. Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy, if
        proven, increases the likelihood that an extensive pipeline of new
        therapeutic products is possible from this venerable plant."

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x/full

        Now all these compounds can be produced in a completely sustainable manner. The waste from the plant can be used to make ethanol, building materials, animal fodder, and much more.

        And it produces a seed which is one of the few plant foods to contain all essential amino and fatty acids in ratios suitable for humans.

        So Cannabis can produce food you can survive off of almost solely, It can produce clothes for you, fuel, building materials, cosmetics and much more. And you are so skeptical it might be useful for medicine?

        Cannabis has a 10 000 year history in China and Central Asia as a plant used by humans.
        http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/content/59/15/4171.short

        We know it has been used for its pharmacological properties for at least 3000 years and many scholars hypothesize much longer. And over that time cannabis has been selectively bred to have a beneficial medicinal effect and low side effects. Just like we bred food crops to be more productive, thousands of years have bred cannabis which is highly effective for many medical conditions and other strains which are highly effective for agriculture or industry.

        Billions of years of evolution have produced some incredibly advanced medicines. Maybe we should start thinking about genomes as medicinal natural products, not just molecules like THC…

        • Well, thanks for the utterly ignorant and misinformed use of “evolution.” You’re really not bright enough to engage in this conversation.

      • Curious George

        I would love to see gold standard double blind randomized clinical trials on vaccinations. Do you know of any?

        • Well that’s a wonderful strawman argument. First, it’s irrelevant to the point at hand that there is NO research that shows getting high prevents any cancer, and secondly, you’re wrong about vaccinations. Several “gold standard” clinical trials were done with Gardasil, which was shown to be so overwhelmingly safe and effective, that the placebo group ended up being vaccinated, after close of the study.

          And another gold standard in clinical medicine are case controlled epidemiological studies that can have huge numbers.

          So, you were wrong on so many levels, you should apologize and walk away in shame.

  • Butch Good

    I guess you dont think the Gerson, Henderson, Budwig, or Burzynski treatments work either. This article is pure garbage. In 2004 I was diagnosed with stage 4 nodular melanoma.It got into my lymph system and spread. 2 brain tumors, 1 in the lung, and one deep in my thigh. I was given 6 months to live. The Allopathic doctors wanted to put me on whole brain radiation and chemotherapy. I declined and sought a different path. I chose natural cures. A combination of Gerson and Budwig, and some protocols mt naturopathic physician reccomended. Its 2014 and Im still alive and cancer free. I woul have DIED if I would have followed thier advice. I have had Dr’s agree with me on that, I Would Have DIED. The stuff You, Medical Science, Big Pharma and the rest of the medical mafia said would not work did. And now it is happening with cannibis oil. Wich by the way isnt made from the seeds but the leaf, stem, and flowers of the plant. Just because the medical mafia says it dosnt work dosnt make it true. Gerson cured and still cures patients that have been given up on and cures them. 5000 people have been cured by Rick Simpson. This stuff works, or do you think all these people just magically went int sponaneous remission?

    • Burzynski is a scam. So once you believe that it’s hard to take anything write with any kind of seriousness at all.

      Naturopathic physicians are quacks who couldn’t treat an ingrown toenail. Rick Simpson has cure no-one, or he’d be publishing it in real journals.

      You’re a delusional kid. You should probably see someone about it.

  • Tim

    I am laughing at the idiot spam on this thread, by those trying to push their agenda. “My Husband that was highly infected with colon cancer” > “My mother breast cancer that she has been suffering from for the past 8 years has been successfully cured” > and leaving email addresses and phone numbers.
    Please don’t be gullible people!

    • I keep trying to delete the spam. Disqus catches most of it.

      I get tired of that crap. Now let me go hunt down spam.

      • I think I got them all. But they keep popping up like weeds. Yeah, I went there.

      • Tim

        Frank Lopez seems to have spammed the place too.

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    • Sally Bronnum

      My exact thoughts!! People are being force fed lies and propaganda to steer them away from finding out the truth that this, once widely used not so long ago, plant provides a natural cure for cancer.

      They’re scared of losing their income from keeping people sick from trying to tell them that chemotherapy is a cure, but I can’t get my head around the fact that people will gladly, and without question, let someone pump poison into their body and tell them it’s helping. Yet when those that are uneducated on the benefits of cannabis are offered facts showing they could be using a natural treatment which actually works, the stigma surrounding ‘pot/weed’ puts them off and down right outrages them! What a crazy way to think!

      • Do you have evidence of any of this? Do you understand even slightly that “cancer” isn’t one disease, it is 250, each with a different type cell, cause, genetics, mechanism of growth, pathophysiology? So, in other words, you make up stuff, get all self-important about it, but you really know nothing about cancer or how to treat. You’re just an ignorant fool with no education.

        • Curious George

          Name calling is obviously the best way to respond 🙂

          I’m not sure why it’s so hard for you to believe that pharmaceutical companies would conspire against a plant based medicine that people can produce on their own. Cannabinoids work synergistically making it impossible to create any effective medicine from the plant using only one isolated (patented) chemical.

    • Stitches Baglady

      As a skeptic, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. As a logical human being, I also felt that you lost all credibility by implying that people can become addicted to pot. Drug addiction is a very real, fucked up, and serious thing. I’ve seen people going through heroin withdrawal and I can honestly say I have never seen marijuana have even a similar effect on people. Are you really that ignorant??? Pot smokers= junkies??? I’m not siding with the stoners but if you really, y’know, loved science, you would actually do some research and check yourself before you post unfounded, logical fallacies on the internet.