Finding a cure for cancer is one of the biggest challenges facing the human race. We dream about the day when we can say we've finally conquered the disease that has taken so many lives. Despite an ongoing battle against cancer, we seem to barely make a dent. In a Quora question titled, " Where to the millions of cancer research dollars go every year?" David Chan, MD from UCLA and Stanford Oncology Fellowship added this quote:
"More than 40 years after the war on cancer was declared, we have spent billions fighting the good fight. The National Cancer Institute has spent some $90 billion on research and treatment during that time. Some 260 nonprofit organizations in the United States have dedicated themselves to cancer—more than the number established for heart disease, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, and stroke combined. Together, these 260 organizations have budgets that top $2.2 billion."
Chan went on to indicate the drop in cancer's death rate is a meager 1% a year since 1990, hardly cause for celebration especially when one out of every four deaths in the U.S. are cancer related.
Is there already a cure?
What if I told you we've not only found a cure, but it's been kept a secret for four decades? If someone had known all along there was a way to take away all that pain and save thousands of people from suffering and death, but kept it a secret, the implications of a massive cover up could rival the story behind
The Da Vinci Code.
The cancer industry is probably the most prosperous business in the United States. In 2014, there was an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases that generate nearly $125 Billion in cancer care costs a year.
In April of 2015, word leaked out the Nixon administration may have stumbled across research suggesting cannabis can actually kill cancer cells in 1974. Nixon was launching his war on drugs and was looking for statistics to back his campaign. He engaged the Medical College of Virginia to run a study that would give him ammunition aimed at cannabis.
His strategy back fired. What the college found was cannabis actually inhibited malignant tumor cell growth in culture as well as mice. On August 18th, 1974, the Washington Post ran a story publicizing the administration of marijuana's main cannabinoid THC, "slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers, and virus-induced leukemia in lab mice, and prolonged their lives by 35%".
According to NORML:
"Despite these favorable preclinical findings, US government officials dismissed the study (which was eventually published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1975), and refused to fund any follow-up research until conducting a similar -- though secret -- clinical trial in the mid-1990s. That study, conducted by the US National Toxicology Program to the tune of $2 million concluded that mice and rats administered high doses of THC over long periods experienced greater protection against malignant tumors than untreated controls.
Rather than publicize their findings, government researchers once again shelved the results, which only came to light after a draft copy of its findings were leaked in 1997 to a medical journal, which in turn forwarded the story to the national media."
Fortunately, researchers in other countries continued beavering away on understanding what cannabis can or cannot do in the fight against cancer. Dr. Christina Sanchez at the Compultense University in Madrid came across some promising discoveries after researching cannabinoids for over ten years. The short answer of what her team found is THC not only helped cancer cells cease to multiply, but THC actually caused the cancer cells to "commit suicide" or destroy themselves:
Why not tell the world about the discovery?
As this story continues to unfold, the role of Big Pharma enters into the conversation. Theory conspiracy fans suggest the pharmaceutical industry has contributed piles of cash to campaigns over the years. So naturally, policy makers would lean toward protecting Big Pharma's ability to make billions of dollars off the cancer industry by putting a carrot out on the horizon.
According to John P. Thomas of Health Impact News, "the cancer industry is probably the most prosperous business in the United States. In 2014, there was an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases that generate nearly $125 Billion (with a 'B') in cancer care costs a year. That number is expected to balloon to $173 Billion by 2020.
Cannabis is fairly inexpensive to grow in mass quantity, and it can't be controlled via a patent or proprietary technology. Cannabis could scare the bejesus out of Big Pharma, so as the theory goes, Big Pharma has a very significant interest in keeping cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug. That prevents a wider range of research on the subject or access to the plant at all.
The secret is getting out. Earlier this year we heard it from the horse's mouth. The National Cancer Institute shared findings through their cancer.gov site indicating cannabis not only killed cancer cells in a laboratory, but went a step further saying cannabis can be used to treat side effects from chemotherapy, such as nausea and hunger.
Why does cannabis kill cancer?
Every yin has a yang. Nature has a way of creating a natural balance with everything. If a "thing" that kills living cells exists in nature, it stands to reason there's a "thing" exits to reverse it. Nature gave us the cannabis plant for a reason. Within that plant there are over 480 cannabinoids, but we really only are familiar with two of them—THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.
Despite humans using cannabis as a medicine for 3,000 years, we still know little about why the plant is so effective as a medicine. If nature didn't mean to give humans the perfect plant, it's hard to imagine what cannabis' purpose is in nature.
A number of YouTube videos can be found showing basically the same thing. Here's footage showing THC attacking cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone:
Another research group called the SETH group created an animation showing what happens when THC touches normal cells, and what happens when THC touches cancer cells:
The results are certainly promising. Although anecdotal stories keep surfacing about cannabis and its ability to combat cancer, we are short on research because of Cannabis' status as a Schedule 1 drug and because a massive powerful pharmaceutical industry has a vested interest in keeping it that way.
In 2016, voters across the U.S. have a chance to make cannabis more widely available either medically or recreationally. Pro-cannabis supporters stop short of declaring we have a cure for cancer, but we certainly have an extremely powerful ally in the fight. Until further research can confirm whether cannabis really is a cure, the stigma of marijuana is fueling Big Pharma's profits.