Is Pot Really A Wonderdrug?

Can marijuana cure cancer, or are college medical students just looking for a good time?

Larkspur-Corte Madera editor Derek Wilson writes a column called "Tick Tock..Time of My Life" that chronciles his days living with Stage 4 carcinoid cancer. Here's his latest entry.


What If Cannabis Cured Cancer?

After watching the video that posed that very question, my wife and I had one immediate reaction: Dang! We've got the munchies.

Somewhere between Your Highness and The Godfathers of Ganga on the walls of the video store sat What If Cannabis Cured Cancer? I've heard some of the scientific theories behind the question, but the movie sounded more like a group of college students looking for an excuse to get high.

I was wrong. It's more like a group of college teachers looking for an excuse to get high and charge the cost of the pot to the school.

Now, granted, a lot of great films have started at the UCLA Film School, but the foul-mouthed puppet short Kurt Cannabis Meets Connie Cancer isn't one of them, even with the voice talents of Roseanne Barr and Malcolm McDowell.

OK, I'll try to make something clear right now. I don't like the smell of smoke, whether it's from regular tobacco or marijuana, so please try not to smoke around me. Also, I have no strong beliefs one way or another about legalizing marijuana. I do, however, believe that if there are any medical benefits to marijuana, we should seek them out.

This movie might have set back by years any scientific research into the medical benefits of marijuana. It's hard to take a man seriously when he's giggling like an idiot, even if he does have tenure.

The film interviews some of the so-called pioneers of cannabis research. Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, claims cannabis is not addictive and with normal use is much more effective than congenital cancer treatments. Dr. David Bearman, MD, seems like a scholarly author as he posits that cannabis "preferentially" kills cancer cells, actually making cancer cells commit suicide. Dr. Robert Melamede, PhD, of the University of Colorado has an impressive title, but comes off looking like a dope. 

The movie, narrated by Peter Coyote, suggests that all humans are born with cannabinoids in our bodies, that they're even in mother's milk, so we are actually hard-wired to respond to cannabis. These cannabinoids are supposed to protect nerves, but they're being overwhelmed by modern society's pollution.

I checked with my doctors and they confirmed that, although it can be difficult to understand, the biology is correct. I asked Dr. Jeffrey Norton of Stanford and Dr. Alex Metzger of the Marin Cancer Institute whether they would prescribe marijuana as a cancer cure. They both said they believe in the plant's power to ease the side effects of cancer treatments. Neither was willing to dismiss entirely the possibility that cannabis could cure cancer, but they didn't seem comfortable with the idea of a cancer patient smoking pot rather than taking chemotherapy.

The most interesting part of the film for me were interviews with researchers at California Pacific Medical Center, which backed the idea that cannabis can be medically useful. This is where the science became compelling. I am open to the idea that something in cannabis can fight cancer.

There were way too many irrelevant elements to the movie, though, to take it really seriously. The suggestion that pot was the first harvested crop in history and that cavemen used it to speed up their evolution. The debate over the legalization of marijuana between Stephen Baldwin and Ron Paul — neither of whom is as credible as Coyote, or even Betty Crocker.

Speaking of Betty, I could really go for a brownie right about now.

Jane Gray September 27, 2011 at 07:23 PM
I think it shows here, who is angry, and at whom. I have asked some questions about POT use, and not one answer Michael. ? I hope your not using any machinery on the job while useing pot,or driving a car,having or raising children. I hope you one day will look back and notice what happiness really is. I enjoy mine, on the job, at home and in society. I don't have to pass any "test" about my life, I am not veering off of the POT issue here, in any of my comments, it is bad for you, and bad for society, bad for our children. And not needed for medical purposes. Therefore, it should never be made legal.
Don September 28, 2011 at 12:04 AM
Everyone is entitled to their own choice, no one should have the right to choose for everyone. First of all the government has a patent on THC as a neuroprotectant. Quoting the patent, "This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia." Surely they speak the truth about this. Have a look at the patent. http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6630507.PN.&OS=PN/6630507&RS=PN/6630507Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO Dave Triplett (and others) have found cannabis oil to cure melanoma as he shows in his short movie about his own experience. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tghUh4ubbg
Don September 28, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Cannabis has been proven to kill cancer cells in lab tests without harming the healthy cells present. http://www.gsalternative.com/2010/05/cannabinoids-kill-cancer/ Many people have seen similar results personally, including a number of stage 4 cancer sufferers given ‘hemp oil’ by Rick Simpson in Canada, who were cured by ingesting it. (Rick said there was about a 70% recovery rate in those stage 4 folks; the rest died as their prognosis forecast.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0psJhQHk_GI Legalizing cannabis does not require anyone to consume it. Your choice of medication should be made by you and your doctor and not limited laws, whatever their intent. The right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and health) should be universal. I thought it was. The constitution does guarantee it, after all.
Don September 28, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Along the lines above, I've created a petition to have the government disclose all known beneficial aspects of cannabis. If you think that might be a nice idea, please sign the petition at http://wh.gov/4y0. (Until there are 150 signatures the petition won't be visible except through this link.) Thanks, Don
Ray Cushing September 29, 2011 at 07:26 PM
This article is based on ignorance and should never have been published. The author needs to do some homework. Here is a good place to start: it is 350 pages listing hundreds of scientific studies done on cannabinoids and their effects on cancer and other illnesses. It's people like this author who are causing people to die by refusing to research the scientific actions of cannabinoids and the political reasons behind cannabis prohibition. http://www.letfreedomgrow.com/cmu/GrannysList-Jan2011.pdf


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