Study: Non-Hallucinogenic Cannabis Effective Anti-Cancer Drug

A new study out of London reveals that certain non-hallucinogenic components of marijuana could serve as effective elements in anti-cancer drugs.
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Our marijuana lawyers in Los Angeles know that for years, anti-cancer properties of the drug have been known. However, research into compounds containing the drug have been severely limited, primarily due to government restrictions. That is true both here and “across the pond.”

In fact, a lack of qualified research into the medicinal benefits of the drug was cited in a recent federal court decision declining to reclassify the drug down from a Schedule I narcotic. So for now, it remains recognized by federal authorities as a highly addictive substance with no medically-recognized redeemable value.

That’s been complicated by the fact that, according to the National Institutes of Health, U.S. spending on medical marijuana research has plummeted in recent years, dropping more than 30 percent since 2007, when it had peaked at more than $130 million. In 2012, the NIH reported there were more than 230 projects given a total of $90 million public funds.

That kind of decline has been problematic for medical doctors in the U.S. They say that current literature on the effects of medical marijuana is collectively contradictory.

Many prescribing physicians rely largely on a 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine, which indicated that there were undoubtedly benefits to the drug, but barring further exploration, the exact nature of those benefits weren’t always clearly defined. That report recommended that clinical trials be conducted for the following conditions:

  • Anxiety reduction;
  • Appetite stimulation;
  • Nausea reduction;
  • Pain relief.

And yet, the American Medical Association reports that there have been fewer than 20 randomized controlled trials involving some 300 patients over the last 35 years. Randomized controlled trials are the “gold standard” for clinical research.

The government often blocks approval for such studies, which make up a tiny portion of those studies that receive public funding.

This is where research conducted overseas can offer up great value. The latest study was carried out by a team at St. George’s, University of London, and published recently in the journal Anticancer Research. What the scientists found was that in a series of laboratory testing efforts, cannabinoids – either alone or in concert with other substances – seemed to effectively mitigate the growth of leukemia. The effect was even more powerful when different combinations of cannabinoids were grouped together and then administered.

Previous studies had indicated that THC – the hallucinogenic compound in marijuana – is effective in battling cancer cells. The fact that the cannibinoids studied had no hallucinogenic side effects means they are more likely to receive government approval for general use.

The research team said it next intends to examine the effect of the cannabinoids when used in concert with more traditional anti-cancer drugs.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Study shows non-hallucinogenic cannabinoids are effective anti-cancer drugs, Oct. 14, 2013, St. George’s, University of London
More Blog Entries:
Synthetic Marijuana Dealer Convicted in Closely-Watched Federal Case, Oct. 14, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog