MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Does Cannabis Cure Cancer?

Date: Fri Jan 21 19:11:46 2011
Posted By: Peter E. Hughes, Ph. D. Biochemistry, Faculty, Biochemistry,
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1295155182.Me

Hi Goose,

I did peruse the references you provided. Most of the information is anecdotal and belief driven. Belief derived evidence is questionable at best. That is also the difficulty with anecdotal evidence: real facts may be hidden in the burst of belief emotion and thus lost.

Hidden within the “weed-cures-cancer” article you provided, we discovered the Salazar (2009) paper. I became excited reading the data from Salazar, et. al. (2009).

Salazar indicated that active Δ9-cannabinoid caused a shrinking of glial tumor cells. We are fascinated by the proposed mechanism, since translational control (eIF2a) is one of our research interests.

There are many references, too many to list here, regarding Δ9- cannabinoid influence on tumors and tumor factors. The vast majority are limited to specific cell types and in tissue culture. These factors make extrapolation to a whole human body smoking cannabis to cure cancer a bit suspect.

Please consider the remarkable differences:

1. A specific single tissue type housed in a controlled, sterile, humidified, heated culture plate having specific nutrient media

2. An entire animal (4000+ tissue types) in all environments, interacting with all other animals, eating anything, breathing pollutants

The reference; is essentially a listing of studies that have been performed. This would be a good starting place for your research interest.

While there may be promise indicated in the studies of these investigators; it would seem prudent to follow the R. Feynman adage: “Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out”.

While I do not promote smoking , I do advocate the use of Δ9-cannabinoid for chemo patients should they choose. At present, marijuana in any form, for any reason, is illegal in my state. Patients smoking cannabis report nutrient tolerance post chemo and report less nausea, Tramer (2001).

I hope this helps! Thanks for your interesting question!

Peter, Mad Scientist story

Salazar M, Carracedo A, Salanueva IJ, Hernández-Tiedra S, Lorente M, Egia A, Vázquez P, Blázquez C, Torres S, García S, Nowak J, Fimia GM, Piacentini M, Cecconi F, Pandolfi PP, González-Feria L, Iovanna JL, Guzmán M, Boya P, Velasco G Cannabinoid action induces autophagy-mediated cell death through stimulation of ER stress in human glioma cells J Clin Invest. 2009;119(5):1359–1372. doi:10.1172/JCI37948.

M Guzmán, M J Duarte, C Blázquez, J Ravina, M C Rosa, I Galve-Roperh, C Sánchez, G Velasco, L González-Feria A pilot clinical study of 9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme British Journal of Cancer (2006) 95,197–203.

Galve-Roperh I, Sánchez C, Cortés ML, Gómez del Pulgar T, Izquierdo M, Guzmán M. Anti-tumoral action of cannabinoids: involvement of sustained ceramide accumulation and extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation. Nat Med. 2000 Mar;6(3):313-9. PMID: 10700234

Recht LD, Salmonsen R, Rosetti R, Jang T, Pipia G, Kubiatowski T, Karim P, Ross AH, Zurier R, Litofsky NS, Burstein S. Antitumor effects of ajulemic acid (CT3), a synthetic non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Biochem Pharmacol. 2001 Sep 15;62(6):755-63.

Tramčr MR, Carroll D, Campbell FA, Reynolds DJM, Moore RA, McQuay HJ
Cannabinoids for control of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting: quantitative systematic review BMJ. 2001 July 7; 323(7303): 16. PMCID: PMC34325

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