Marijuana for Cancer Prevention
Kas Thomas is a longtime cognitive dissident and menace to sacred-cow-kind. A graduate of the University of California at Irvine and Davis (with degrees in biology and microbiology) and a former University of California Regents' Fellow, He has been a Technology Evangelist for Adobe Systems and currently operates Author-Zone.com, a resource site for indie authors.
Follow @kasthomas on Twitter.
Research into the health effects of cannabis have yielded a mixed bag (so to speak) of results. Predictably, studies that have looked for harmful effects have found them. But there are also beneficial effects, the most surprising of which involve the ability of cannabinoids to combat cancer.
Of course, smoke (of any kind) is not good for you, and the available evidence (see this study and also this review) seems to show that smoking marijuana brings roughly the same increase in lung-cancer risk as smoking tobacco. But that's not where the story ends.
In one two-year study involving THC, a dose-related decrease in the incidence of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma was observed in mice, and decreased incidences of benign tumors (polyps and adenomas) in mammary gland, uterus, pituitary, testis, and pancreas were noted in rats. In another study, delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol were seen to inhibit growth of lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo.
In yet another study, cannabinoids reduced the viability of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells in vitro and demonstrated antitumor effects in HCC subcutaneous xenografts in mice.
An in vitro study of the effect of cannabidiol on programmed cell death in breast cancer cell lines found that the chemical induced programmed cell death and inhibited survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines, inducing apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner while having little effect on nontumorigenic mammary cells.
Cannabidiol has also been demonstrated to exert a chemopreventive effect in a mouse model of colon cancer.
For a list of 37 studies showing beneficial effects of cannabis, see the National Cancer Institute's page on cannabis.
How is it that cannabinoids are able to fight cancer? Apparently, THC and its relatives are able to facilitate apoptosis (programmed cell death) in neoplastic tissues, hastening the death of cancer cells. But also, cannabinoids exert an anti-inflammatory effect, and it is well known that anti-inflammatory drugs tend to have anti-cancer properties.
It should be stressed that the studies showing positive results did not use smoke as a delivery mechanism. If you decide to light up, you're probably driving your cancer odds in the wrong direction.
These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.
We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.
Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.
For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.