by Paul Armentano: It’s
Not A Matter of ‘Should We Legalize Marijuana’ — It’s A Matter of
trials have for decades documented
the anti-cancer properties of cannabis and its constituents. Yet
it took until this week for the website of the National Institute
of Cancer, a component of the U.S. government’s National Institutes
of Health, to finally acknowledged the herb’s therapeutic utility
for patients living with disease or suffering from the adverse side-effects
of cancer treatment.
In a newly
added section to the website, entitled "Cannabis and Cannabinoids,"
the Institute states:
may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction
of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor
angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor
cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and
may even protect them from cell death.
potential benefits of medicinal cannabis for people living with
cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain
relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative
oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal cannabis
not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct
stunning acknowledgment, given that the NIH is a branch of the very
same government that presently maintains that the cannabis plant
and all of its naturally-derived components have "no
accepted medical use." Yet it also begs the question: Where
has the National Institute of Cancer been all these years?
won’t take them another 36 years to demand that the Feds finally
assess whether these preclinical
results are replicable in human trials.
[send him mail] is the deputy
director of NORML and the NORML Foundation. He is also the co-author
of the new book Marijuana
Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People To Drink? (Chelsea
Green Publishing, 2009).