Marijuana And Cancer: Scientists Find Cannabis Compound Stops Metastasis In Aggressive Cancers

 The Huffington Post

A pair of scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco has found that a compound derived from marijuana could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, potentially altering the fatality of the disease forever.

“It took us about 20 years of research to figure this out, but we are very excited,” said Pierre Desprez, one of the scientists behind the discovery, to The Huffington Post. “We want to get started with trials as soon as possible.”

The Daily Beast first reported on the finding, which has already undergone both laboratory and animal testing, and is awaiting permission for clinical trials in humans.

Desprez, a molecular biologist, spent decades studying ID-1, the gene that causes cancer to spread. Meanwhile, fellow researcher Sean McAllister was studying the effects of Cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-toxic, non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Finally, the pair collaborated, combining CBD and cells containing high levels of ID-1 in a petri dish.

“What we found was that his Cannabidiol could essentially ‘turn off’ the ID-1,” Desprez told HuffPost. The cells stopped spreading and returned to normal.

“We likely would not have found this on our own,” he added. “That’s why collaboration is so essential to scientific discovery.”

Desprez and McAllister first published a paper about the finding in 2007. Since then, their team has found that CBD works both in the lab and in animals. And now, they’ve found even more good news.

“We started by researching breast cancer,” said Desprez. “But now we’ve found that Cannabidiol works with many kinds of aggressive cancers–brain, prostate–any kind in which these high levels of ID-1 are present.”

Desprez hopes that clinical trials will begin immediately.

“We’ve found no toxicity in the animals we’ve tested, and Cannabidiol is already used in humans for a variety of other ailments,” he said. Indeed, the compound is used to relieve anxiety and nausea, and, since it is non-psychoactive, does not cause the “high” associated with THC.

While marijuana advocates will surely praise the discovery, Desprez explained that it’s not so easy as just lighting up.

“We used injections in the animal testing and are also testing pills,” he said. “But you could never get enough Cannabidiol for it to be effective just from smoking.”

Furthermore, the team has started synthesizing the compound in the lab instead of using the plant in an effort to make it more potent.

“It’s a common practice,” explained Desprez. “But hopefully it will also keep us clear of any obstacles while seeking approval.”

America’s Drug Czar: Programmed To Oppose Popular Drug Policy Reforms


Predictably. Reflexively. Mandated by law. Yawn…

So the current U.S. drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske*, in true Pavlovian style, reacted negatively to the umpteenth commission report issued last week opining that 1) the war on some drugs has totally failed to achieve any of its stated goals, 2) policy reforms based on public health–not arrest and incarcerate–models are most effective, 3) the war on some drugs wastes preciously needed tax dollars, military expenditures, destabilize international borders and cause havoc in the banking and financial industries and 4) that legalization should readily be on the table, notably legalizing cannabis.

As if a bell rang, the U.S. drug czar’s office dutifully rolled out a brief and defensive commentary published in The Hill (a virtually DC-only publication for inside-the- beltway-types) that touches upon the Obama administration’s only-slightly-different-from-previous-drug czars’-approach-to-maintaining-the-status quo…

*Mr. Kerlikowske is likely going to be resigning soon as drug czar (which is understandable as it is one of the most thankless bureaucratic positions in Washington, D.C. as a job with a prescription for failure) to become the next police chief of Chicago…

Drug policies must be rooted in science
By Gil Kerlikowske
06/06/11

Last week, the Global Commission on Drug Policy issued a report calling for the decriminalization of illicit drugs based on the notion that global efforts to reduce drug use have been a failure. Certainly, given the stature of the Commission and the long-term challenge of drug policies both nationally and internationally, the Commission’s message may appear compelling at first. But there are serious flaws with both the report’s conclusion and its proposed remedy.

We agree with the Commission that balanced drug control efforts are necessary, which is why this administration’s National Drug Control Policy is a marked departure from past strategies. We support diverting non-violent offenders into treatment instead of jail by encouraging alternatives to incarceration. And as a former police chief, I and my colleagues know that we cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem. As I’ve often stated before, drug use should be addressed as a public health problem because we know drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated. Legalizing illicit drugs increase drug use and the need for drug treatment, while also making it more difficult to keep our communities healthy and safe.

Our National Drug Control Strategy is science-based. And science shows that illegal drug use is associated with specialty treatment admissions, fatal drugged driving accidents, mental illness, and emergency room admissions. Illicit drug use has huge costs to our society, outside of just criminal justice costs.

A recent report by the Department of Justice’s National Drug Intelligence Center about the economic impact of illicit drug use indicates that the costs of illicit drug use on health care and productivity alone, are over $80 billion. Making illicit drugs legal would not reduce any of these factors. Nor is drug use a victimless crime. Just last month, during a visit to the Pediatric Interim Care Center in Kent, Washington, I saw firsthand the tragic impact drug use has on newborn babies.

In addition, despite the Commission’s assertions, efforts to reduce drug use over the last several decades have, in fact, achieved success. Overall drug use in the United States is half of what it was thirty years ago, cocaine production in Colombia has dropped by almost two-thirds, and the very same U.N. World Drug Report cited by the Commission concluded that, “Demand for cocaine in the U.S. has been in long-term decline.”

This administration’s efforts to reduce drug use are not born out of a culture war or drug war mentality, but rather out of the recognition that drug use strains our economy, public health, and public safety. The President’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy – released one year ago – focuses on both the public health and public safety aspects of drug use and addiction. It focuses on addiction as a disease and on the importance of preventing drug use, as well as providing treatment to those who need it, including those who are involved in the criminal justice system. For the first time, it emphasizes support for millions of individuals who are in recovery from drug addiction.

And the United States is not alone. Our international partners across the globe – including Mexico’s President Calderon, Colombia’s President Santos, and Costa Rica’s President Miranda – have all clearly stated their opposition to drug legalization.

It is, of course, tempting to opt for seemingly easy answers to the world’s drug problems. They appear intractable at times. But we have made real progress and the steps we take in the future must be rooted in science and evidence-based policies that will make our communities healthier and safer.

Gil Kerlikowske is the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

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Cannabis Business University

Cannabis Business University℠ is setting the Gold Standard in education & training. Our Board of Directors, Advisors, Professors, Medical & Legal Experts, along with our highly experienced business management team are on the inside track and have the qualifications and experience to provide training and facilitation of career, business, health and wellness opportunities. At CannaBizU℠ we have designed the curriculum in order to provide our Students and Alumni the tools necessary to compete in all aspects of business, industry, commerce and wellness of this earthen natural resource.

State Medical Marijuana Centers Get Green Light

RI — The Rhode Island General Assembly passed a bill last month to allow the creation of up to three state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, becoming the third state in the country to legalize so-called “compassion centers” after both the House and Senate voted to override the veto of Gov. Donald Carcieri ’65.

The use of medical marijuana for gravely ill patients was legalized by the General Assembly in 2006. But without a legal means to obtain marijuana, patients have to grow it themselves or buy it illegally.

“It’s an opportunity for people to live out their lives in a more peaceful way,” said State Rep. Thomas Slater, D-Dist. 10, who sponsored the bill in the House. “The only people who seem to be prevented from getting marijuana are the people who need it for their diseases.”

Stephen Hogan, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, also praised the bill. “Rhode Island now has the best law throughout the country for medical marijuana,” Hogan said. Unlike in California, he said, “these are state-regulated, non-profit organizations. All you need in California is a license.”

According to Hogan, there should be three dispensaries statewide by 2011.

Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for Carcieri, said the governor continues to oppose the bill.

“First and foremost, it tends to weaken the laws governing and the perceptions of illicit drugs,” Kempe said, adding that Rhode Island has one of the highest rates of drug use among teenagers.

She added that California has seen an increase in crime in the areas surrounding compassion centers, as patients leaving the centers are vulnerable to muggers.

Dan Bernath, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., said that evidence of increased crime in areas around dispensaries in California is merely “anecdotal.” The bill, he said, is “a reflection of the understanding that these compassion centers have worked very well” in other states.

“I think it is an acknowledgement that the mood is changing,” Bernath said. “Obama and his attorney general have shown that they’re not interested in using federal law enforcement resources against people operating within the laws of the state.”

Source: Brown Daily Herald, The (Brown, RI Edu)
Author: Anish Gonchigar, Staff Writer