MSN News headlines this week that on January 7, 2016, New York became the 23rd state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. The state assembly passed the marijuana legislation 18 months ago, but firms that are designated to grow and distribute did not officially obtain their licenses until late July. Only patients with doctor’s prescriptions who have serious illnesses such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or certain forms of epilepsy are eligible for the cannabis pill, oil or drop form, which is only about 1% of the state’s population. The legalization of marijuana for medical use is still a slow process. It has been 20 years since the first state legalized it, yet insurance still will not pay for this vital therapy. Patients will have to pay out-of-pocket and it is estimated that therapies will start at $200 per month.
The use of the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes is still taboo for most of the United States despite scientific proof that it manages symptoms and even stops the progress of serious diseases such as cancer. An internet search of marijuana curing cancer will produce millions of results. Because smoking the plant produces THC, a compound that gives a feeling of being high, it has led to misuse and mistrust of the rest of the plant. Used in oil form the patient receives only the healing properties of the plant.
Scientific studies have been going on for over 20 years to prove the medicinal properties of cannabis. They have found that marijuana kills cancer dead in its tracks, and the government and FDA wants to make sure we can’t use marijuana as a cancer treatment in its natural derivative form.
1. It is true that marijuana kills cancer. In 1973 the NIDH did a study trying to prove that marijuana caused cancer and found that it actually reversed 3 types of cancer including breast cancer. It was also shown to repair your DNA. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1159836)
2. Scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that a compound derived from marijuana will stop the spread in many kinds of aggressive cancer, potentially changing the fatality of the disease. Desprez, a molecular biologist, spent decades studying ID-1, which is the gene that causes cancer to spread. His partner, Sean McAllister was studying the effects of Cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-toxic, non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. After combining CBD and cells containing high levels of ID-1 in a petri dish, they found that the Cannabidiol turned off the ID-1. The cells stopped spreading and even returned to normal!
3. In another study, scientists tested two different lung cancer cell lines as well as patient lung tumor samples of CB1 and CB2. They found that non-toxic doses of THC not only stopped the growth of those cells, but also spread throughout the cell lines like a pre-treatment for future cancer cell growth.
4. A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience tested the chemical in the brain for both acute neuronal damage and in slowly progressive, neurodegenerative diseases. They ran a magnetic resonance imaging study that studied THC and found that it reduced neuronal injury in rats. This means that the cannabinoid system can protect the brain against neurodegeneration. The ingredients in marijuana activate cannabinoid receptors in the body that produce compounds called endocannabinoids, which play an important role in immune system generation and re-generation of damaged brain cells caused by cancer.
5. Cancer.gov posts right on its website the many benefits cannabis has for symptom management. Marijuana is well documented to ease pain, help with sleep and anxiety, increase appetite, and more. Quoted right from the site:
• Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
• By federal law, the possession of cannabis, also known as marijuana, is illegal in the United States; however, a growing number of states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize its medical use.
• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved cannabis as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition.
• Chemical components of cannabis, called cannabinoids, activate specific receptors found throughout the body to produce pharmacologic effects, particularly in the central nervous system and the immune system.
• Commercially available cannabinoids, such as dronabinol and nabilone, are approved drugs for the treatment of cancer-related side effects.
• Cannabinoids may have benefits in the treatment of cancer-related side effects.
With overwhelming major international scientific proof that marijuana actually cures cancer and at the very least slows and eases side effects, why is it illegal to possess and why have only a few states legalized it for medical use? How long will it be before the cannabis plant is seen as medicinal? If a product with pharmacologic effects eases the side effects of a fatal disease such as cancer, then why wouldn’t a medical insurance company pay, just as it does for a chemical compound? These scientific tests have been proven for over 20 years. What exactly is the hold up?