The U.S. Federal government has admitted IN WRITING that CANNABIS KILLS CANCER! This admission is as shocking as it is exciting although it does not come without caveats.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is a federally funded research institution; in their recently updated (June 2015) article Drug Facts: Is Marijuana Medicine? NIDA had this to say:
"Recent animal studies have shown that marijuana extracts may help kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one cell culture study suggests that purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors. Research in mice showed that treatment with purified extracts of THC and CBD, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation"
Their reference is to a study conducted at St.George’s University in London regarding the medicinal effects of cannabis and brain cancer which found that glioma cells reacted better to radiation therapy when treated with botanical THC and synthetic CBD combinations.
This recent NIDA admission dovetails with several other recent softenings of Fed opinions on Cannabis. Chuck Rosenberg the acting head of the DEA recently said that "marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin." He went on to say that he isn't an expert on the subject. While that is common sense to most people this is profound for the head of the DEA to admit as Marijuana is a schedule 1 drug along side heroin, meaning in the eyes of the law marijuana is classified as dangerous as heroin.
In a column published last week by the Huffington Post, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, wrote that while many compounds of the cannabis plant are beginning to show evidence of a “range of uses in medicine,” cannabidiol, otherwise referred to as CBD, “appears to be a safe drug with no addictive side effects.”
NIDA is quick to point out that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires clinical trials with hundreds to thousands of human subjects to determine the benefits and risks of a possible medication. They go on to say;
"So far, researchers have not conducted enough large-scale clinical trials that show that the benefits of the marijuana plant (as opposed to its cannabinoid ingredients) outweigh its risks in patients it is meant to treat."
NIDA seems to place blame on the collective research community for not conducting FDA standard human clinical trials, which completely ignores the fact that the Federal government dictates who gets to study the Cannabis plant legally. They also seem to be saying that while they recognize that single compound cannabinoids have medicinal value, the medical efficacy of the whole botanical is more of a risk than it's worth.
Justin Gover CEO of drug giant GW Pharmaceuticals recently said "So the starting position for our research was that the legalization of cannabis for medical use was NOT the right way to go about things, what we should be doing in the modern era, is producing prescription drugs" in an interview on Bloomberg TV.
So don't hold your breath for the FDA to approve cannabis for cancer treatment anytime soon. The overall attitude of the federal government and its corporate sponsors like GW Pharmaceuticals is in favor of single compound pharmaceuticals rather than whole plant botanicals.