Does cannabis cure cancer? In around nine months we’ll officially know whether cannabis cures melanoma and within two years, Australia may have a registered pharmaceutical that’s based on cannabinoids to treat thousands who are living with the condition. This news follows hard on the heels of Australia’s announcement that, although there’ll be no widespread rollout of a medical cannabis program, researchers will be able to grow cannabis and conduct research into its uses.
Distinguished research team gets to work
The team from the University of Canberra is led by Professor Sudha Rao, a molecular and cellular biologist with a distinguished history in cancer research. She is famous in the research community for her discovery that a certain enzyme causes cancer stem cells to spread.
She is currently busy on work that is looking at enzyme inhibitors to prevent cancer from spreading, but now she’ll also be looking at finding an answer to the question that’s on everybody’s lips: “Does cannabis kill cancer?” Funding for the research work is being provided by Cann Pharmaceutical Australia.
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Fast-tracking potentially life-saving medical discovery
13,000 Australians a year are diagnosed with melanoma and 1,800 Australians and New Zealanders a year die as a result of this form of cancer. In her research, professor Rao will use combinations of cancer therapies and cannabis in her search for a cure.
An Israeli strain of cannabis will be used in the trial, and Rao hopes that her findings may impact on the treatment protocols for other forms of cancer too. She says her research will be the first to combine cannabinoids with conventional therapies.
The University’s Vice-chancellor says the university hopes to link the research with its health precinct so that researchers are able to work with patients in a treatment environment rather than just conducting standard laboratory trails.
Cannabis activists say positive research results will boost their cause
A spokesperson for an Australian medical cannabis activists group hopes that the research will provide breakthroughs – not only for cancer treatment, but also for medical cannabis in general. He says people are suffering unnecessarily because they aren’t allowed to use medical cannabis and hopes a positive research result will highlight the medical benefits he believes cannabis imparts.
He says the current legal environment is “untenable” and that those who are determined to try medical cannabis have to break the law, opening themselves up to prosecution when they use cannabis.
Does cannabis cure cancer? We may soon have all the evidence we need
So far, there have only been limited studies into cannabis and cancer and anecdotal stories of cannabis cancer cures, but there are many who passionately believe that cannabis cures cancer. What they don’t know though, is just which cannabinoids they should choose and how much they should use. This research will provide us with some of the answers we’ve been waiting for.