Typing ‘cannabis cures cancer’ into google spits out over 600,000 hits. This is huge hype for something that has never come close to being a clinically approved medicine to treat cancer. So why does all this fascination exist? Well, the idea that there is something out there capable of curing us, but kept behind closed doors by the powers above makes for an appetising headline. In the era of conspiracy theories, this one is definitely up there, and one of the most audacious. Are all the world’s leaders, pharmaceutical companies, clinicians and scientists guarding the key to our long term survival? Does Cannabis REALLY cure cancer?
One of the first of these 600,000 hits is ‘www.cureyourowncancer.org’, which is a website that describes the benefits of cannabis oil and other natural substances for anyone with cancer out there looking to treat themselves. The website gives a sophisticated account on the mechanisms of how cannabis oil kills cancer cells. This introduction to the mechanisms of cancer cell death would be appetising to any reader with cancer, but it is important to read between the lines. There is a strong biased view coming from this website, which offers an array of scientific papers to the public claiming ‘Chemo kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all’ and ‘Cannabis shrinks tumours: Government have known since 1974’ with no consideration to that fact each of these chemotherapeutic drugs have been through a clinical trial process, being deemed safe enough, and effective enough for their clinical use. Furthermore, there are numerous patient stories of spontaneous reduction growth and curing of cancer after cannabis oil.
Unfortunately, some cancers are more resistant than others and, although genetic testing is helping to predict response to treatments, some cancers can have a poor response to many chemotherapeutic drugs and can have a poor outcome (just as some people have adverse effects to pain killers and antibiotics). Regardless, the best drugs available are always given to a cancer patient, and the best drugs have all shown to be the best based on clinical trial data with large numbers of cancer patients. Moreover, the idea that the Government is preventing cannabis for clinical use for cancer is obscene. Firstly, possession of cannabis may be illegal in many states and countries but is approved in the research setting, to which a mountain of work has been done and is currently ongoing. Secondly, cannabinoids (active compounds in cannabis) have been approved to treat cancer-related side-effects, but have so far not been deemed good enough to treat any cancer. Their effect has shown some optimism in preliminary preclinical work in cells and animals (as has 1000’s of compounds) but as of yet nothing related to cannabis has been approved to treat any cancer.
Until they can present a better treatment response than the best drugs available for cancer (which is what a clinical trial measures), they won’t be prescribed. Patient reports showing remarkable turnarounds in cancers after taking cannabis oil are quite subjective. Full medical data is not given and most of these patients have gone through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and other experimental trials before attempting cannabis oil. Therefore, to say that cannabis oil cured cancer in these cases is completely wrong.
These experimental medicines have not been sufficiently researched and could even antagonise your current medical treatment. Dosing recommendation comes from no experimental backing and is purely guess work. As always, if this article doesn’t convince you, talk to your doctor. Doctors can recommend experimental clinical trials which could help fight your cancer if current treatment is not working. Dietary and lifestyle changes can also be recommended. Never take treatment into your own hands.
Manuel Guzmán, Cannabinoids: Potential anticancer agents (2003), Nature Reviews, Volume 3, Pg 745-755.
Bandana Chakravarti et al, Cannabinoids as therapeutic agents in cancer: current status and future implications (2014), Oncotarget, Vol. 5, No. 15. Pg 5852-5872.