Could legalizing marijuana help cure breast cancer?

Drug Policy Question of the Week – 11-4-10

As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 11-4-10. http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3132

Question of the Week: Could legalizing marijuana help cure breast cancer?

This was the title of an article that recently received top placement on AlterNet.org. October has been National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Scientific journals like Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, Molecular Cancer Therapeutic, and Molecular Cancer have all published fairly recent pre-clinical studies concerning the potential of cannabinoids as treatments for breast cancer. These studies also extol the safety of cannabinoid therapies.

The human body contains an internal system interrelated with molecules in the cannabis – marijuana – plant. A neurological signaling structure called the endocannabinoid system is now known to govern numerous bodily processes like appetite, pain, and even the birth of new brain cells. Cannabinoid receptors, called CB1 and CB2, are located in various cell membranes and activated by the body’s own cannabinoid molecules, as well as those unique to the cannabis plant (THC, CBD) or synthetically-derived.

The latest research is proving that cannabinoids, as part of this bodily system, plays a mitigating role in breast cancer.

A breast cancer diagnosis will confront about 1 in 8 American women this year. Some 40,000 will die from it. Therapies involve invasive surgery, heavy radiation, and toxic chemotherapy.

Over the decades, a labyrinth of governmental agencies with multi-billion dollar budgets has enforced marijuana laws while thwarting clinical research and reinforcing anti-marijuana stereotypes.

Numerous efforts have challenged the U.S. Government’s monopoly control over cannabis, but they haven’t dislodged the federal government’s grip on this policy.

To accelerate the clinical trials that will develop promising cannabinoid-based breast cancer treatments, an untried question might be asked, could legalizing marijuana help cure breast cancer?

Article in Breast Cancer Research & Treatment: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20859676

Article in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19887554

Article in Molecular Cancer: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917429/pdf/1476-4598-9-196.pdf

Article by Mary Jane Borden on AlterNet:  Could legalizing marijuana in California help cure breast cancer?

These facts and others like them can be found in the Medical Marijuana chapter of Drug War Facts at http://www.drugwarfacts.org.

Questions concerning these or other facts concerning drug policy can be e-mailed to mjborden@drugwarfacts.org