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Marijuana’s benefits for cancer victims

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A recent twitter posting by @colmanfink to this 2000 Alternet posting about marijuana’s benefits for cancer victims led me to google the topic. I found the following items:

– The above-referenced Alternet article sums up its focus as follows: "In 1974 researchers learned that THC, the active chemical in marijuana, shrank or destroyed brain tumors in test mice. But the DEA quickly shut down the study and destroyed its results, which were never replicated — until now."

– In mid-2008, the Duluth News Tribune printed a letter by a spokesperson for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which includes this passage: "In a study presented at a meeting of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego in 2006, UCLA researcher Donald Tashkin presented findings from his study of cannabis and the respiratory system. Tashkin revealed that there was not a correlation between pot smoking and lung cancer and that there may well be a protective effect provided by cannabis against cancer. When asked at that meeting about separating pot’s high from the clinical benefits, San Francisco oncologist Dr. Donald Abrams said, ‘I don’t think that a drug that creates euphoria in patients with terminal diseases is having an adverse effect.’"

– Last August, NORML’s blog weighed in here https://blog.norml.org/2009/08/18/reuters-pot-kills-cancer-but-dont-even-think-about-using-it/ on marijuana’s benefits for cancer victims, including this passage:

"US federal researchers have known for some 35 years that the naturally occurring chemicals in cannabis – not just synthesized agonists – can halt the proliferation of multiple types of cancer, including including brain cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, and pancreatic cancer. We even know how.

"’Cannabinoids: potential anticancer agents via Nature Reviews Cancer (2003)

"’Cannabinoids are usually well tolerated, and do not produce the generalized toxic effects of conventional chemotherapies. … Cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals. They do so by modulating key cell-signaling pathways, thereby inducing direct growth arrest and death of tumor cells, as well as by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids are selective anti-tumor compounds, as they can kill tumor cells without affecting their non-transformed counterparts.’"

As an aside, some of the foregoing articles address drug testing on mice, whereby I assume that the mice are ultimately slaughtered and autopsied. As an animal rights supporter, I hope we can get to the point that drugs are not tested on non-human animals. Jon Katz