Pubdate: Thu, 01 Dec 2005
Source: Oaksterdam News (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Oaksterdam News
Author: Chris Conrad
SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE HEARS OF TUMOR REDUCING EFFECT FROM CANNABINOIDS
A prestigious gathering of scientists and researchers met in September in Leiden, The Netherlands, where the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine biennial conference heard first-hand reports of tumor reducing effects and other benefits of marijuana and cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are compounds found in the cannabis plant. Endocannabinoids are naturally occuring compounds in the human body that are similar in structure and effect to those in cannabis.
Much of the funding for the research projects was funded by government agencies such as NIDA and were designed to look for harmful effects rather than health benefits, which skewed the information somewhat. Nonetheless, significant benefits and relatively few harms were revealed. In fact, the marijuana smokers in general appeared pretty normal when compared to the rest of society, based on the reports that were given.
Not all research presented was government approved. Mark Gibson reported on his work with Canna-Biz Chocolate, which he and his wife produce and provide to a number of multiple sclerosis sufferers in the UK. They monitor their patients and saw significant alleviation of symptoms. Shortly thereafter, police came in and arrested them, shut the service down, took away their medicine and charged the couple with trafficking. Mark faces prison for his work. A court trial is planned for next year.
Jorg Fachner compared topographic EEG brain mapping changes of cannabis induced and sound-trance induced altered state of consciousness. Tumors reduced by cannabinoid Research on the tumor reducing effects of cannabinoids were one of the most exciting pieces of new information brought forth. The research, backed up with photos and measurements, showed that rats with large, induced tumors clearly benefited from application of cannabis derivatives, and not merely as an adjunct to chemotherapy. Researchers from Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, including Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, credited as the discoverer of the THC molecule, led an international team investigating the use of cannabinoids to treat cancer. Dubbed HU-331, cannabidiol-hydroxyquinone was produced from cannabidiol and used to treat tumors in vitro and in vivo, meaning both in petri dishes and also on living mice. "HU-331 shows very high effectivity against human cancer cell lines in-vitro and also against in-vivo tumor grafts in nude mice. At 35 days after cancer cell injection, the tumors in the treated group were half the size of the tumors in the controls," they reported. HU-331 inhibited T-cell lymphoma cell growth more than known anticancer drugs, including doxorubicin, mitoxantrone and etoposide. HU-331 proved much less toxic than doxorubicin, mitoxantrone and etoposide.
Promising review of Sativex Researchers from GW Pharmaceuticals reported on the company's work with natural, broad spectrum inhaled cannabis extract. The medication, already available in Canada, utilizes patented technology to ingest and regulate the dose without smoking by using a device similar to the asthma inhaler. Their research concluded that the plant-based medicinal extract Sativex produced significant improvements in a subjective measure of spasticity which were maintained on long-term treatment with no evidence of tolerance.
California research Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather presented a paper developed with fellow California physicians Tod Mikuriya and David Bearman on the "Clinical improvement and reduction of immunosuppressive drug therapy in cannabis treated patients with Crohn's disease." They reported that "The Crohn's patients encountered by these physicians have been treated with a variety of conventional pharmacological therapies including steroids, other immunomodulators and a number of biologic therapies, including anti tumor necrosis factor." Smoked cannabis was found to be more effective in relieving symptoms than were the pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Donald Abrams reported favorably on smoked cannabis therapy for hiv-related painful peripheral neuropathy: results of a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Dale Gieringer, PhD, gave an update on the growth of cannabis medicine in the US: practice and usage in a semi-legal regime. Field trip to official gardens Marco van de Velde discussed "Two years of experience with legal production and distribution of medicinal cannabis in the Netherlands," and participants had an opportunity to take a field trip to the official, government licensed cannabis nursery of Bedrocan.