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.
The famed author headed to the pond thanks to Indian philosophy.
- The famed author was heavily influenced by Indian literature, informing his decision to self-exile on Walden Pond.
- He was introduced to these texts by his good friend's father, William Emerson.
- Yoga philosophy was in America a century before any physical practices were introduced.
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- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
- Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
A little goes a long way.
- A recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services found that 80 percent of Americans don't exercise enough.
- Small breaks from work add up, causing experts to recommend short doses of movement rather than waiting to do longer workouts.
- Rethinking what exercise is can help you frame how you move throughout your day.
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