In February 2008, the documentary Run From the Cure was released, in which a man named Rick Simpson claimed that cannabis oil could cure cancer and nearly any disease known to man. He made these claims based on his experience treating himself and hundreds of others with homemade oil, and found there was essentially no condition the oil couldn’t eliminate or control. Due to these sweeping claims, Rick’s work was largely ignored. The possibility of an illegal drug treating so many diseases admittedly sounded insane, and the production values of Run From the Cure led many to even claim it was faked. It’s been over six years since the original film’s release, and the weight of evidence supporting Rick’s extraordinary claims has become massive.
Rick began experimenting with cannabis oil for cancer based merely on hearing about a single study showing THC could inhibit Lewis lung adenocarcinoma growth in mice. Figuring cannabis’ anti-cancer properties may extend to other cases, Rick applied cannabis oil to his skin cancer, which promptly disappeared after a few days. It is therefore not surprising that [http://www.jci.org/articles/view/16116] activating cannabinoid receptors induces apoptosis in skin cancer cells. There are similar studies demonstrating cannabinoids kill or inhibit virtually any type of cancer through a variety of mechanisms, including anti-metastatic, anti-proliferative, and pro-apoptotic effects. Such effects can occur both dependently and independently of cannabinoid receptors, so even in areas with few cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoids still work.
It is astounding how many studies there are showing how cannabinoids actually kill cancer. But that’s not the whole story. Many critics are quick to point out that cell culture and animal studies rarely translate to humans, because the human body is so much more complex. However, substantial research provides strong evidence that the human body is programmed to have cannabinoids kill cancer cells. This would perfectly explain why cannabis oils are being reported as effective against so many cancers. Four phenomena support this programming theory. Endocannabinoids, cannabinoid-like molecules our body produces, induce apoptosis in many of the same types of cancers that phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids) do. For example, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12746841 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10570948 alike can both induce apoptosis in the PC3 line of prostate cancer. A November 2006 study found that disease-free survival was much better in patients with high expression levels of CB1 and CB2 receptors than those with low-level expression. Next, some types of cancer cells http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/66/13/6748.full express higher levels cannabinoid receptors than healthy cells. This could indicate one of the body’s many innate defense mechanisms against cancer – when a cell becomes cancerous, it develops more cannabinoid receptors, so that endocannabinoids flowing through the blood can attach and induce apoptosis. Third, high expression levels of cannabinoid receptors are associated with http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17074588 significantly better, disease-free survival of patients with at least one form of cancer, suggesting the receptors themselves are associated with cancer inhibition. Finally, all mammals possess an endocannabinoid system, which comprises the cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids. This system has been implicated in maintaining organism-wide homeostasis by many studies, which would explain why cannabis extracts show promise in diseases beyond cancer. Given that all disease is an imbalance of some sort, it makes sense that restoring balance would positively affect disease. While far more research is required to explore this theory, it would explain the anecdotal stories being reported across the world.
The science is astounding, and new research illuminating the beneficial effects of cannabinoids comes out nearly every month. But what’s more amazing are the patient experiences, and the caliber of individuals getting involved in this movement. Run From the Cure inspired thousands of people to test Rick’s claims on their own conditions, including various cancers and other diseases. Many of these individuals have posted videos and written stories on YouTube and other social media, and some have gone as far as to provide http://cannabisnationradio.com/corrie-yelland medical documentation of remission. Both the number and nature of these reports is staggering. Many patients report they were on the verge of death, and went into remission with cannabis oil treatment. It is absurd to think that all of these patients are lying or grossly misunderstanding their own health conditions.
Perhaps most importantly, it was recently formally proven that cannabis can kill cancer in a human. A November 2013 study in the medical journal Case Reports in Oncology found that cannabis extract administration nearly completely abolished the leukemic blast cell count in a female patient with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This was after chemotherapy and radiation failed to have any positive effect. However, cannabis oil was administered as the sole treatment after such failure, and both chemotherapy and spontaneous remission were scientifically ruled out as causes of subsequent cancer remission. Unfortunately, the patient still passed away, although the doctors determined the cause of death to be from side effects of prior chemotherapy, not the cancer itself. Interestingly enough, Rick Simpson himself consulted with the family to help them prepare the cannabis oil used.
So many other prestigious, well-credentialed individuals are now stepping up and claiming the very same anti-cancer effects as Rick. Stephen DeAngelo, owner of the largest dispensary in the United States, reported in the trailer for Run From the Cure 2 that every week patients are coming into Harborside Health Center and reporting success with oil against skin cancer. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the man who discovered THC in 1964 and who is widely considered the father of cannabis medicine, has called for clinical trials of cannabis extracts for cancer in light of so many positive anecdotal reports. Sanjay Gupta of CNN has enlightened the nation on the power of cannabis oil against epilepsy. While the main patient featured in his documentary, Charlotte Figi, suffers from Dravet syndrome, preliminary reports have shown high-CBD cannabis oil works against Doose syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, metachromatic leukodystrophy, and idiopathic epilepsy as well. It sounds unbelievable that one type of cannabis extract could work against so many types of epilepsies that even the most powerful pharmaceuticals fail to treat, but this is what’s being documented by doctors.
Corporations are also getting involved. GW Pharmaceuticals, featured in Sanjay Gupta’s documentary, owns multiple patents using cannabis for cancer, and is currently conducting http://www.gwpharm.com/GW%20Pharmaceuticals%20Commences%20Phase%201b2a%20Clinical%20Trial%20%20for%20the%20Treatment%20of%20Glioblastoma%20Multiforme%20GBM.aspx clinical trials with cannabis for brain cancer. Two other corporations, Medical Marijuana Sciences (a subsidiary of Nuvilex) and Plandai Biotechnology, are developing advanced cannabinoid medicines that utilize encapsulation methods to increase bioavailability. Dr. Mark L. Rabe, who is Chairman of MMS’ Scientific Advisory Board, recently presented at the National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference in Washington, D.C., on the topic of using cannabis to fight cancer. He cited both research and a case from Dr. William Courtney in which an infant’s brain tumor was put into remission with cannabis oil alone.
The weight of the scientific, anecdotal, and logical evidence is overwhelming. It is abundantly clear that cannabis has, at the very least, eliminated some cancers in some people. This reality necessitates immediate change throughout the world, so medicinal cannabis oils can be made available for both use and research. Anyone who wants to use the treatment should have the human freedom to do so. As importantly, it is critical that cannabis oil be researched, so we can identify the best cannabinoid/terpenoid profiles for different diseases in different people. Some conditions respond better to high-CBD oils, others to high-THC oils, and others to raw cannabinoids like THC-A and CBD-A. Scientific research will clarify the best uses for each option. For now, activists must rally around this cause, and fight to bring progress as soon as possible.