Huffington Post looks into the possibility of alternative treatments for cancer.
The escalating costs of conventional medicines, and worrisome issues of health insurance coverage are leading to the ever-increasing popularity of alternative medicines. Cannabis is as alternative as you can get, considering it is still officially denigrated.
Historic references to cannabis as a medicine are common. Emperor Fu Hsi already recommended its use in 2900 BC. More recently, cannabis was added to the US Pharmacopeia in 1850 for a wide variety of uses across a broad spectrum of illnesses.
A PDQ review from the National Cancer Institute states that cannabis might lessen the progression of cancer cells: it alleviates pain, decreases inflammation and lowers anxiety.
Studies on mice and rats done in the 90’s, showed cannabinoids might have protective effects against tumors, and decrease the incidence of benign tumors.
A review in 2006, in the British Journal of Pharmacology titled “Cannabinoids and cancer: pros and cons of an anti-tumor strategy” listed a long list of positives and very few negatives.
Cannabinoids are well tolerated in animal studies, and they do affect tumor cells. Even if more in vivo research is needed to clarify the specific action in cancer, and to test efficacy in patients, cannabinoids offer a promising cancer treatment says the Huffington Post.
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The soothing aspect of cannabis during cancer treatment is widely accepted, and acclaimed. Several clinical trials have been done on the beneficial support of cannabinoid based pharmaceuticals dronabinol and nabilone on chemo-induced nausea and vomiting compared to placebo. Analgesic properties are also claimed. Both these synthetic medicines have been accepted, and have been approved by the FDA.
There is very little research on the plant itself due to the stigma of marijuana and unavailability of research material for studies to be done. Yet anecdotal evidence is more than widespread.
For instance, one just have to visit the website Surviving Mesothelioma to find several inspiring stories of people who have survived this rare and highly aggressive cancer by using cannabinoids. The five-year survival rate is extremely poor at 9% or less, and this figure has not changed in 30 years.
One such a story is that of Andy Ashcraft, diagnosed with a late stage of pleural mesothelioma in 2010, he was given three months to a year to live. He and his wife didn’t resign themselves to this fate, and searched high and low for alternative therapies, including cannabis oil.
Six years later he is alive and well. He has outlived the time doctors predicted he had left, and has become another one of those “anecdotal” cases of alternative success.
Cannabis for cancer
The stigma around cannabis is slowly fading, but it doesn’t come easy, as Big Pharma and Big Law Enforcement breathes down our necks. If a therapy works, and it costs much less, especially in the case of people who could never afford chemotherapy without health cover, why not use it?
It takes tremendous courage not to be daunted by statistics, but to try alternative remedies in conjunction with regular treatments. We are encouraged by the Huffington Post article, but would nevertheless be pleased to see scientific research confirming that cannabis was responsible for these success stories. For now, we can only watch and wait.