Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Marijuana and Cancer - Governmental Arrogance Buries Viable Cancer Therapies
It seems that nearly everyone in government fancies himself superior to the rest of us in knowledge and judgment. There is no telling how much beneficial, not to mention vital, research and knowledge have been lost as a result of the arrogant whims of the few who consider themselves the elite among us, simply on the basis of having engineered themselves into a position of power. A depressing example of this arrogance is reflected in the fiasco surrounding research into the medical benefits of marijuana.
Way back in 1974, the National Institute of Health funded research at Medical College of Virginia. Their mission was to prove the contention that marijuana damages the immune system. In funding this research, the NIH was destined to be roundly disappointed - they effectively shot themselves in the foot. Rather than receiving confirmation and supporting evidence of their contention, the NIH people were annoyed to learn that the MCV researchers found instead, that THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, undeniably slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice.
Since this failed miserably in bolstering the government's case against marijuana, in their view the most noxious of all weeds, and in fact proved just the opposite, the DEA came charging into the fray, banners flying, trumpets blaring. They shut down the Virginia study along with all other cannabis tumor research.
Not to be outdone in the public assault on a useful albeit often misused plant and substance, President Gerald Ford got on the bandwagon in 1976, and put an end to all cannabis research while simultaneously granting that right exclusively to the maniacally delighted pharmaceutical industry.
Then again, in 1983, in accommodation to intense lobbying and reception of massive campaign contributions, the Reagan/Bush administration tried hard to persuade American Universities and researchers to destroy all of the 1966-76 cannabis research work, including compendiums in libraries. They were partially successful. Large amounts of information have disappeared.
But all this negative effort is like trying to hold back the dawn. The facts keep cropping up in spite of the best efforts of vested interests to bury them. In February of 2000, another confirmation of marijuana's cancer fighting abilities came out of Madrid. Researchers there had destroyed incurable brain cancer tumors in rats by injecting them with THC. This confirmed the earlier Virginia study.
The news of this discovery has been virtually non-existent in the United States. The New York Times ignored the story. So did the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. These papers receive major advertising revenues from the pharmaceutical industry, which by the way, employs two lobbyists for each and every member of congress.
As public pressure to allow the use of medicinal marijuana continues to build, more and more politicians are being induced to taking a closer look at the facts. Its strong support by patients and medical professionals is beginning to be felt. More and more states are adopting compassionate laws toward medicinal marijuana as many patients clamor for the substance to relieve the symptoms and side effects of chemo.
The nausea, vomiting, pain, and insomnia that are typically a consequence of conventional cancer therapy, cripple a patient's quality of life. Marijuana, smoked, vaporized, infused in teas, or baked in foods, can dramatically restore a patient's place in the world. Noting this has induced the entire oncology community to endorse its use.
The pharmaceutical companies, hard pressed to compete against this tidal wave of sentiment, have isolated the active compound in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrolcanabinol, THC, and made a synthetic version of it available by prescription. But it doesn't work nearly as well as plain old marijuana, it doesn't work at all on some people, it takes from 45 minutes to 2 hours to take effect when it does work, and it will set a patient back about $ 800.00 a month. Not really a good alternative.
Medicinal marijuana is not without its own side effects. Anxiety, drowsiness, dry mouth, slow reaction times, and loss of short term memory are among them. Patients using this substance for medicinal purposes will experience varying side effects. Everyone reacts differently to its use and it is very important to buy marijuana from an authorized source. Other drugs or harmful substances are often added by unscrupulous criminal dealers.
Doctors treating cancer patients are in critical need to be kept informed of all drugs taken by their patients, including marijuana, over-the-counter, prescription, or homeopathic remedies. It's very important to keep in mind that marijuana, at this point, is not a form of treatment and is not curative. It is used only to treat cancer symptoms like pain, and to relieve the side effects of treatment.
Fourteen states have legalized the use of medicinal marijuana. They are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding its use and these need to be complied with. Most states require registration with supporting documentation and certification by a physician. This should by no means be construed as an endorsement for the indiscriminate use of marijuana. The substance has some very serious negative side effects and needs to be treated like any other drug. If you don't need it, stay away from it.
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