Marijuana use reduces alcohol and tobacco users' risk for developing head and neck cancer

Marijuana use protects tobacco smokers and alcohol drinkers from head and neck cancer! Legalization is on its way to the USA! A population-based case-control study of marijuana use and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.Liang C, McClean MD, Marsit C, Christensen B, Peters E, Nelson HH, Kelsey KT.SourceDepartment of Community Health, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.

Abstract: Cannabinoids, constituents of marijuana smoke, have been recognized to have potential antitumor properties. However, the epidemiologic evidence addressing the relationship between marijuana use and the induction of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma HNSCC is inconsistent and conflicting. Cases n = 434 were patients with incident HNSCC disease from nine medical facilities in the Greater Boston, MA area between December 1999 and December 2003. Controls n = 547 were frequency matched to cases on age +/-3 years, gender, and town of residence.  After adjusting for potential confounders including smoking and alcohol drinking, 10 to 20 years of marijuana use was associated with a significantly reduced risk of HNSCC [odds ratio OR10-<20 years versus never users, 0.38; 95% confidence interval CI, 0.22-0.67]. Among marijuana users moderate weekly use was associated with reduced risk OR0.5-<1.5 times versus <0.5 time, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.32-0.85. The magnitude of reduced risk was more pronounced for those who started use at an older age OR15-<20 years versus never users, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.30-0.95; OR> or =20 years versus never users, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.17-0.90; Ptrend < 0.001. These inverse associations did not depend on human papillomavirus 16 antibody status. However, for the subjects who have the same level of smoking or alcohol drinking, we observed attenuated risk of HNSCC among those who use marijuana compared with those who do not. Our study suggests that moderate marijuana use is associated with reduced risk of HNSCC.

Marijuana use reduces alcohol and tobacco users' risk for developing head and neck cancer

Marijuana use protects tobacco smokers and alcohol drinkers from head and neck cancer! Legalization is on its way to the USA! A population-based case-control study of marijuana use and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.Liang C, McClean MD, Marsit C, Christensen B, Peters E, Nelson HH, Kelsey KT.SourceDepartment of Community Health, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.

Abstract: Cannabinoids, constituents of marijuana smoke, have been recognized to have potential antitumor properties. However, the epidemiologic evidence addressing the relationship between marijuana use and the induction of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma HNSCC is inconsistent and conflicting. Cases n = 434 were patients with incident HNSCC disease from nine medical facilities in the Greater Boston, MA area between December 1999 and December 2003. Controls n = 547 were frequency matched to cases on age +/-3 years, gender, and town of residence.  After adjusting for potential confounders including smoking and alcohol drinking, 10 to 20 years of marijuana use was associated with a significantly reduced risk of HNSCC [odds ratio OR10-<20 years versus never users, 0.38; 95% confidence interval CI, 0.22-0.67]. Among marijuana users moderate weekly use was associated with reduced risk OR0.5-<1.5 times versus <0.5 time, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.32-0.85. The magnitude of reduced risk was more pronounced for those who started use at an older age OR15-<20 years versus never users, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.30-0.95; OR> or =20 years versus never users, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.17-0.90; Ptrend < 0.001. These inverse associations did not depend on human papillomavirus 16 antibody status. However, for the subjects who have the same level of smoking or alcohol drinking, we observed attenuated risk of HNSCC among those who use marijuana compared with those who do not. Our study suggests that moderate marijuana use is associated with reduced risk of HNSCC.

via A population-based case-control stud... [Cancer Prev Res Phila. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI.

Marijuana protects the brain from Alzheimer's disease better than any available drugs

News Release

Marijuana's Active Ingredient Shown to Inhibit Primary Marker of Alzheimer's Disease

Discovery Could Lead to More Effective Treatments

LA JOLLA, CA, August 9, 2006 - Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have found that the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque, the primary pathological marker for Alzheimer's disease. In fact, the study said, THC is "a considerably superior inhibitor of [amyloid plaque] aggregation" to several currently approved drugs for treating the disease.

The study was published online August 9 in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

According to the new Scripps Research study, which used both computer modeling and biochemical assays, THC inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which acts as a "molecular chaperone" to accelerate the formation of amyloid plaque in the brains of Alzheimer victims. Although experts disagree on whether the presence of beta-amyloid plaques in those areas critical to memory and cognition is a symptom or cause, it remains a significant hallmark of the disease. With its strong inhibitory abilities, the study said, THC "may provide an improved therapeutic for Alzheimer's disease" that would treat "both the symptoms and progression" of the disease.

"While we are certainly not advocating the use of illegal drugs, these findings offer convincing evidence that THC possesses remarkable inhibitory qualities, especially when compared to AChE inhibitors currently available to patients," said Kim Janda, Ph.D., who is Ely R. Callaway, Jr. Professor of Chemistry at Scripps Research, a member of The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, and director of the Worm Institute of Research and Medicine. "In a test against propidium, one of the most effective inhibitors reported to date, THC blocked AChE-induced aggregation completely, while the propidium did not. Although our study is far from final, it does show that there is a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which THC may directly affect the progression of Alzheimer's disease."

As the new study points out, any new treatment that could halt or even slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease would have a major impact on the quality of life for patients, as well as reducing the staggering health care costs associated with the disease.

Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and the numbers are growing. The Alzheimer's Association estimates 4.5 million Americans have the disease, a figure that could reach as high as 16 million by 2050. A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics noted that half of all nursing home residents have Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder. The costs of caring for Alzheimer's patients are at least $100 billion annually, according to the National Institute on Aging.

Over the last two decades, the causes of Alzheimer's disease have been clarified through extensive biochemical and neurobiological studies, leading to an assortment of possible therapeutic strategies including interference with beta amyloid metabolism, the focus of the Scripps Research study.

The cholinergic system - the nerve cell system in the brain that uses acetylcholine (Ach) as a neurotransmitter - is the most dramatic of the neurotransmitter systems affected by Alzheimer's disease. Levels of acetylcholine, which was first identified in 1914, are abnormally low in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Currently, there are four FDA-approved drugs that treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease by inhibiting the active site of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme responsible for the degradation of acetylcholine.

"When we investigated the power of THC to inhibit the aggregation of beta-amyloid," Janda said, "we found that THC was a very effective inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase. In addition to propidium, we also found that THC was considerably more effective than two of the approved drugs for Alzheimer's disease treatment, donepezil (Aricept ®) and tacrine (Cognex ®), which reduced amyloid aggregation by only 22 percent and 7 percent, respectively, at twice the concentration used in our studies. Our results are conclusive enough to warrant further investigation."

A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology

Using marijuana is your best bet for avoiding the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. And you don't have to use enough to get stoned, used as a preventative, one puff is enough to protect the brain from the inflammation and changes that lead to Alzheimer's dementia. A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology                                                       Lisa M. Eubanks,† Claude J. Rogers,† Albert E. Beuscher, IV,‡ George F. Koob,§ Arthur J. Olson,‡ Tobin J. Dickerson,† and Kim D. Janda corresponding author†

:Abstract: Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and with the ever-increasing size of this population, cases of Alzheimer's disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression have become imperative to both improve the quality of life for patients as well as reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer's disease. Here, we demonstrate that the active component of marijuana, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC, competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase AChE as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid β-peptide Aβ aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer's disease. Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis. Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Aβ aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.Keywords: Cannabinoids, Alzheimer's disease, Acetylcholinesterase

via A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology.

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A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology

Using marijuana is your best bet for avoiding the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. And you don't have to use enough to get stoned, used as a preventative, one puff is enough to protect the brain from the inflammation and changes that lead to Alzheimer's dementia. A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology                                                       Lisa M. Eubanks,† Claude J. Rogers,† Albert E. Beuscher, IV,‡ George F. Koob,§ Arthur J. Olson,‡ Tobin J. Dickerson,† and Kim D. Janda corresponding author†

:Abstract: Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and with the ever-increasing size of this population, cases of Alzheimer's disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression have become imperative to both improve the quality of life for patients as well as reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer's disease. Here, we demonstrate that the active component of marijuana, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC, competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase AChE as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid β-peptide Aβ aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer's disease. Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis. Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Aβ aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.Keywords: Cannabinoids, Alzheimer's disease, Acetylcholinesterase

via A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology.

[Marihuana and cannobinoids as medicaments]. [Przegl Lek. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI

Przegl Lek. 2012;69(10):1095-7. [Marihuana and cannobinoids as medicaments].

[Article in Polish]

Tkaczyk M, Florek E, Piekoszewski W.

Source Krakowska Wyzsza Szkoła Promocji Zdrowia, Kraków.

Abstract

Biological activity of cannabinoids is caused by binding to two cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. Psychoactive is not only tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but also: cannabidiol, cannabigerol or cannabichromen. Formerly, the usefulness of hemp was assessed in the relation to temporary appeasement of the symptoms of some ailments as nausea or vomiting. Present discoveries indicates that cannabis-based drugs has shown ability to alleviate of autoimmunological disorders such as: Multiple sclerosis (MS), Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or inflammatory bowel disease. Another studies indicates that cannabinoids play role in treatment of neurological disorders like Alzheimer disease or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or even can reduce spreading of tumor cells. Cannabinoids stand out high safety profile considering acute toxicity, it is low possibility of deadly overdosing and side-effects are comprise in range of tolerated side-effects of other medications.

via [Marihuana and cannobinoids as medicaments]. [Przegl Lek. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI.

Cannabinoids may be therapeutic in breast c... [Oncol Nurs Forum. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

I know it is hard for some of you to believe, but marijuana is the anti-cancer plant, science has spoken! Oncol Nurs Forum. 2013 Mar 1;402:191-2. doi: 10.1188/13.ONF.191-192

Cannabinoids may be therapeutic in breast cancer                .Behrend SW.SourceDepartment of Nursing, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA.                                                           Abstract:Cannabinoids are a group of compounds synthesized exclusively by the Cannabis sativa plant, commonly known as marijuana. In 1990, the first cannabinoid-specific membrane CB1 was characterized and cloned Matsuda, Lolait, Brownstein, Young, & Bonner, 1990, which catapulted biomedical research on these unique compounds. Cannabinoids refer to both marijuana-derived compounds with the active ingredient of 9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC and also the synthetic molecules that activate the same primary targets as THC. Therapeutic properties of marijuana have been well established; however, the clinical use of either plant-sourced or pure cannabinoids remains limited. The anticachexia properties of cannabinoids are found in tetrahydrocannabinol oral capsules of synthetically generated THC and are used to manage weight loss, wasting syndrome, and nausea and vomiting associated with cancer treatment.PMID: 23448745 [PubMed - in process]

via Cannabinoids may be therapeutic in breast c... [Oncol Nurs Forum. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

Cannabinoids selectively inhibit proliferation ... [J Neurooncol. 2005] - PubMed - NCBI

This is an important study because it shows that the naturally-occurring cannabinoid molecule THC was safer, and more effective against cancer cells than was a synthetic cannabinoid, WIN 55,212-2. Yet researchers are discouraged from using cannabinoids from marijuana in lieu of the synthetic ones, because good findings about THC might "send the wrong message to young people." So now young people are getting a hold of far more dangerous synthetic cannabinoids and using them recreationally...the Law of Unintended Consequences. Neurooncol. 2005 Aug;741:31-40.Cannabinoids selectively inhibit proliferation and induce death of cultured human glioblastoma multiforme cells.McAllister SD, Chan C, Taft RJ, Luu T, Abood ME, Moore DH, Aldape K, Yount G.  Abstract: Normal tissue toxicity limits the efficacy of current treatment modalities for glioblastoma multiforme GBM. We evaluated the influence of cannabinoids on cell proliferation, death, and morphology of human GBM cell lines and in primary human glial cultures, the normal cells from which GBM tumors arise. The influence of a plant derived cannabinoid agonist, Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol Delta9-THC, and a potent synthetic cannabinoid agonist, WIN 55,212-2, were compared using time lapse microscopy. We discovered that Delta9-THC decreases cell proliferation and increases cell death of human GBM cells more rapidly than WIN 55,212-2. Delta9-THC was also more potent at inhibiting the proliferation of GBM cells compared to WIN 55,212-2. The effects of Delta9-THC and WIN 55,212-2 on the GBM cells were partially the result of cannabinoid receptor activation. The same concentration of Delta9-THC that significantly inhibits proliferation and increases death of human GBM cells has no significant impact on human primary glial cultures. Evidence of selective efficacy with WIN 55,212-2 was also observed but the selectivity was less profound, and the synthetic agonist produced a greater disruption of normal cell morphology compared to Delta9-THC.PMID: 16078104 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

via Cannabinoids selectively inhibit proliferation ... [J Neurooncol. 2005] - PubMed - NCBI.

Use of cannabinoid rece... [Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI

THC from marijuana is a safe, effective and thoroughly enjoyable cannabinoid receptor agonist. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Feb;                                                                                                      Use of cannabinoid receptor agonists in cancer therapy as palliative and curative agents.                                            Pisanti S, Malfitano AM, Grimaldi C, Santoro A, Gazzerro P, Laezza C, Bifulco M.Source Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Salerno, Italy.                                                                                           Abstract: Cannabinoids the active components of Cannabis sativa and their derivatives have received renewed interest in recent years due to their diverse pharmacological activities. In particular, cannabinoids offer potential applications as anti-tumour drugs, based on the ability of some members of this class of compounds to limit cell proliferation and to induce tumour-selective cell death. Although synthetic cannabinoids may have pro-tumour effects in vivo due to their immunosuppressive properties, predominantly inhibitory effects on tumour growth and migration, angiogenesis, metastasis, and also inflammation have been described. Emerging evidence suggests that agonists of cannabinoid receptors expressed by tumour cells may offer a novel strategy to treat cancer. In this chapter we review the more recent results generating interest in the field of cannabinoids and cancer, and provide novel suggestions for the development, exploration and use of cannabinoid agonists for cancer therapy, not only as palliative but also as curative drugs.PMID: 19285265 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

via Use of cannabinoid rece... [Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI.

Cannabinoids induce apoptosis of pancreatic tumor... [Cancer Res. 2006] - PubMed - NCBI

Cancer Res. 2006 Jul 1;6613:6748-55.Cannabinoids induce apoptosis of pancreatic tumor cells via endoplasmic reticulum stress-related genes.Carracedo A, Gironella M, Lorente M, Garcia S, Guzmán M, Velasco G, Iovanna JL.SourceDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I, School of Biology, Complutense University, c/José Antonio Novais s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain                                                                                   .     Abstract: Pancreatic adenocarcinomas are among the most malignant forms of cancer and, therefore, it is of especial interest to set new strategies aimed at improving the prognostic of this deadly disease. The present study was undertaken to investigate the action of cannabinoids, a new family of potential antitumoral agents, in pancreatic cancer. We show that cannabinoid receptors are expressed in human pancreatic tumor cell lines and tumor biopsies at much higher levels than in normal pancreatic tissue. Studies conducted with MiaPaCa2 and Panc1 cell lines showed that cannabinoid administration a induced apoptosis, b increased ceramide levels, and c up-regulated mRNA levels of the stress protein p8. These effects were prevented by blockade of the CB2 cannabinoid receptor or by pharmacologic inhibition of ceramide synthesis de novo. Knockdown experiments using selective small interfering RNAs showed the involvement of p8 via its downstream endoplasmic reticulum stress-related targets activating transcription factor 4 ATF-4 and TRB3 in Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol-induced apoptosis. Cannabinoids also reduced the growth of tumor cells in two animal models of pancreatic cancer. In addition, cannabinoid treatment inhibited the spreading of pancreatic tumor cells. Moreover, cannabinoid administration selectively increased apoptosis and TRB3 expression in pancreatic tumor cells but not in normal tissue. In conclusion, results presented here show that cannabinoids lead to apoptosis of pancreatic tumor cells via a CB2 receptor and de novo synthesized ceramide-dependent up-regulation of p8 and the endoplasmic reticulum stress-related genes ATF-4 and TRB3. These findings may contribute to set the basis for a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. via Cannabinoids induce apoptosis of pancreatic tumor... [Cancer Res. 2006] - PubMed - NCBI.

Marijuana Use Reduces Obesity

Marijuana use is significantly protective against obesity as well as the harmful illnesses that accompany the syndrome. This is because THC and other cannabinoids work as systemic biological health regulators, the are key to our ability to survive and thrive. We really do need to encourage more adults to use marijuana in some form to improve their health and guard against degenerative illnesses. Science continues to affirm this position. Med Hypotheses. 2013 Feb 11.                                               Cannabis and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC for weight loss?Le Foll B, Trigo JM, et al.

Abstract: Obesity is one of the highest preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in the developed world [1]. It has been well known for a long time that exposure to cannabis produces an increase of appetite a phenomenon referred to as the 'munchies'. This phenomenon led to an exploration of the role of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of obesity and associated metabolic syndrome. This effort subsequently led to the development of a successful therapeutic approach for obesity that consisted of blocking the cannabinoid CB1 receptors using ligands such as Rimonabant in order to produce weight loss and improve metabolic profile [2]. Despite being efficacious, Rimonabant was associated with increased rates of depression and anxiety and therefore removed from the market. We recently discovered that the prevalence of obesity is paradoxically much lower in cannabis users as compared to non-users and that this difference is not accounted for by tobacco smoking status and is still present after adjusting for variables such as sex and age. Here, we propose that this effect is directly related to exposure to the Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC present in cannabis smoke. We therefore propose the seemingly paradoxical hypothesis that THC or a THC/cannabidiol combination drug may produce weight loss and may be a useful therapeutic for the treatment of obesity and its complications.

via Cannabis and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC ... [Med Hypotheses. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

OnMedica - News - Alcohol major contributor to cancer deaths

Marijuana has powerful anti-cancer activity. Alcohol is a powerful cancer promoting agent. If you're going to drink, you damn well need to be toking too! Alcohol major contributor to cancer deaths

A drink a day can increase breast cancer risk by 5%2     Even light drinking raises breast cancer risk   Alcohol major contributor to cancer deaths                                                                                     15 February 2013                                Alcohol is a major contributor to cancer deaths and years of potential life lost, researchers have found.These findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, also show that reducing alcohol consumption is an important cancer prevention strategy as alcohol is a known carcinogen even when consumed in small quantities.Previous studies consistently have shown that alcohol consumption is a significant risk factor for cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus and liver. More recent research has shown that alcohol also increases the risk of cancers of the colon, rectum and female breast. Estimates have shown that alcohol accounts for about 4% of all cancer-related deaths worldwide.In this new study, researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine BUSM and Boston University School of Public Health BUSPH examined recent data from the US on alcohol consumption and cancer mortality. They found that alcohol resulted in approximately 20,000 cancer deaths annually, accounting for about 3.5% of all cancer deaths in the US.Breast cancer was the most common cause of alcohol-attributable cancer deaths in women, accounting for approximately 6,000 deaths annually, or about 15% of all breast cancer deaths. Cancers of the mouth, throat and oesophagus were common causes of alcohol-attributable cancer mortality in men, resulting in a total of about 6,000 annual deaths.The researchers also found that each alcohol-related cancer death accounted for an average of 18 years of potential life lost. In addition, although higher levels of alcohol consumption led to a higher cancer risk, average consumption of 1.5 drinks per day or less accounted for 30% of all alcohol-attributable cancer deaths."The relationship between alcohol and cancer is strong, but is not widely appreciated by the public and remains underemphasised even by physicians," said senior author Timothy Naimi from the Department of Medicine at BUSM."Alcohol is a big preventable cancer risk factor that has been hiding in plain sight," he added.

via OnMedica - News - Alcohol major contributor to cancer deaths.

Study Says Cannabis May Help Reverse Dementia From Alzheimer’s

Study Says Cannabis May Help Reverse Dementia From Alzheimer’s  February 14, 2013 Toke up for the sake of your brain?                                                  The Sydney Morning Herald reports: A team from Neuroscience Research Australia is in the early stages of research examining if one of the main active ingredients in cannabis, called cannabidiol, could reverse some of the symptoms of memory loss in animals. Tim Karl, a senior research fellow with the group, said cannabidiol has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and other effects that could be beneficial for the brain. His study involved injecting cannabidiol into mice that had symptoms similiar to those seen in Alzheimer’s, as well as examining what would happen to brain cells treated with the drug. Dr Karl found that when the mice were given the cannabidiol they showed drastic improvement on parts of the tests that were related to recognising and remembering objects and other mice: “You could say it cured them.”

via Study Says Cannabis May Help Reverse Dementia From Alzheimer’s | Disinformation.

Cannabinoids: a new hope for breast cancer ... [Cancer Treat Rev. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI

Marijuana fights beast cancer, why wait for "officials" to approve it? Use it now! Family history of breast cancer? Use it now! History of poor diet and alcohol consumption? Use it now! Cancer Treat Rev. 2012 Nov;10. 2012

Cannabinoids: a new hope for breast cancer therapy?               Caffarel MM, et al., Dept. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I, School of Biology, Complutense University-CIBERNED-IRYCIS, Madrid, Spain.                                                                                          Abstract: Breast cancer is a very common disease that affects approximately 1 in 10 women at some point in their lives. Importantly, breast cancer cannot be considered a single disease as it is characterized by distinct pathological and molecular subtypes that are treated with different therapies and have diverse clinical outcomes. Although some highly successful treatments have been developed, certain breast tumors are resistant to conventional therapies and a considerable number of them relapse. Therefore, new strategies are urgently needed, and the challenge for the future will most likely be the development of individualized therapies that specifically target each patient's tumor. Experimental evidence accumulated during the last decade supports that cannabinoids, the active components of Cannabis sativa and their derivatives, possess anticancer activity. Thus, these compounds exert anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, anti-migratory and anti-invasive actions in a wide spectrum of cancer cells in culture. Moreover, tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis are hampered by cannabinoids in xenograft-based and genetically-engineered mouse models of cancer. This review summarizes our current knowledge on the anti-tumor potential of cannabinoids in breast cancer, which suggests that cannabinoid-based medicines may be useful for the treatment of most breast tumor subtypes.Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

via Cannabinoids: a new hope for breast cancer ... [Cancer Treat Rev. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI.

Towards the use of cannabinoids as antitumour agents : Abstract : Nature Reviews Cancer

PerspectivesNature Reviews Cancer 12, 436-444 June 2012 | doi:10.1038/nrc3247                                                                      Opinion: Towards the use of cannabinoids as antitumour agents Guillermo Velasco1,2,3, Cristina Sánchez1 & Manuel Guzmán1,2,4 Various reports have shown that cannabinoids the active components of marijuana and their derivatives can reduce tumour growth and progression in animal models of cancer, in addition to their well-known palliative effects on some cancer-associated symptoms. This Opinion article discusses our current understanding of cannabinoids as antitumour agents, focusing on recent insights into the molecular mechanisms of action, including emerging resistance mechanisms and opportunities for combination therapy approaches. Such knowledge is required for the optimization of preclinical cannabinoid-based therapies and for the preliminary clinical testing that is currently underway.

via Towards the use of cannabinoids as antitumour agents : Abstract : Nature Reviews Cancer.

Marijuana-safe and effective for treating sleep apnea

Here is evidence that THC, the psychotropic cannabinoid found in marijuana, can benefit people suffering from sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, a toke or two of vaporized or smoked marijuana (or some tincture or an edible) could significantly improve your quality of life. Also, if there is some oxygen deprivation resulting from apnea, the cannabinoids will shield the brain and likely reduce the resulting damage. Front Psychiatry.  Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Proof of concept trial of dronabinol in obstructive sleep apnea.Prasad B, Radulovacki MG, Carley DW.SourceDepartment of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL, USA.AbstractStudy Objective: Animal data suggest that Δ9-TetraHydroCannabinol Δ9THC stabilizes autonomic output during sleep, reduces spontaneous sleep-disordered breathing, and blocks serotonin-induced exacerbation of sleep apnea. On this basis, we examined the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of dronabinol Δ9THC, an exogenous Cannabinoid type 1 and type 2 CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea OSA. Design and Setting: Proof of concept; single-center dose-escalation study of dronabinol. Participants: Seventeen adults with a baseline Apnea Hypopnea Index AHI ≥15/h. Baseline polysomnography PSG was performed after a 7-day washout of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure treatment. Intervention: Dronabinol was administered after baseline PSG, starting at 2.5 mg once daily. The dose was increased weekly, as tolerated, to 5 mg and finally to 10 mg once daily. Measurements and Results: Repeat PSG assessments were performed on nights 7, 14, and 21 of dronabinol treatment. Change in AHI ΔAHI, mean ± SD was significant from baseline to night 21 -14.1 ± 17.5; p = 0.007. No degradation of sleep architecture or serious adverse events was noted. Conclusion: Dronabinol treatment is safe and well-tolerated in OSA patients at doses of 2.5-10 mg daily and significantly reduces AHI in the short-term. These findings should be confirmed in a larger study in order to identify sub-populations with OSA that may benefit from cannabimimetic pharmacologic therapy.PMID: 23346060 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3550518Free PMC Article

via Proof of concept trial of dronabinol in obs... [Front Psychiatry. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

US Investigators Praise Cannabinoids As Chemo Treatment

US Investigators Praise Cannabinoids As Chemo Treatment“ Cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell proliferation and should be clinically tested as chemotherapeutic agents, according to a review published in the January issue of the journal Cancer Research.Investigators at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health reported that the administration of cannabinoids halts the spread of a wide range of cancers, including brain cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, and lymphoma. Researchers suggested that cannabinoids may offer significant advantages over standard chemotherapy treatments because the compounds are both non-toxic and can uniquely target malignant cells while ignoring healthy ones.“Cannabinoids … offer potential applications as anti-tumor drugs, based on the ability of some members of this class to limit inflammation, cell proliferation, and cell survival,” authors concluded. “[T]here is overwhelming evidence to suggest that cannabinoids can be explored as chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer.”"Read more: http://norml.org/news/2008/01/31/us-investigators-praise-cannabinoids-as-chemo-treatment

via US Investigators Praise Cannabinoids As Chemo Treatment | www.thctotalhealthcare.com.

Local delivery of cannabinoid-loaded microparticles... [PLoS One. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

What will the prohibitionists say if marijuana turns out to be the most effective form of chemotherapy ever discovered? PLoS One. 2013;81:e54795. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054795. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Local delivery of cannabinoid-loaded microparticles inhibits tumor growth in a murine xenograft model of glioblastoma multiforme.Hernán Pérez de la Ossa D, Lorente M, Gil-Alegre ME, Torres S, García-Taboada E, Aberturas Mdel R, Molpeceres J, Velasco G, Torres-Suárez AI.SourceDepartment of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, School of Pharmacy, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain.AbstractCannabinoids, the active components of marijuana and their derivatives, are currently investigated due to their potential therapeutic application for the management of many different diseases, including cancer. Specifically, Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol THC and Cannabidiol CBD - the two major ingredients of marijuana - have been shown to inhibit tumor growth in a number of animal models of cancer, including glioma. Although there are several pharmaceutical preparations that permit the oral administration of THC or its analogue nabilone or the oromucosal delivery of a THC- and CBD-enriched cannabis extract, the systemic administration of cannabinoids has several limitations in part derived from the high lipophilicity exhibited by these compounds. In this work we analyzed CBD- and THC-loaded poly-ε-caprolactone microparticles as an alternative delivery system for long-term cannabinoid administration in a murine xenograft model of glioma. In vitro characterization of THC- and CBD-loaded microparticles showed that this method of microencapsulation facilitates a sustained release of the two cannabinoids for several days. Local administration of THC-, CBD- or a mixture 1∶1 w:w of THC- and CBD-loaded microparticles every 5 days to mice bearing glioma xenografts reduced tumour growth with the same efficacy than a daily local administration of the equivalent amount of those cannabinoids in solution. Moreover, treatment with cannabinoid-loaded microparticles enhanced apoptosis and decreased cell proliferation and angiogenesis in these tumours. Our findings support that THC- and CBD-loaded microparticles could be used as an alternative method of cannabinoid delivery in anticancer therapies.

via Local delivery of cannabinoid-loaded microparticles... [PLoS One. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

DEA continues to hide behind self-created ignorance on marijuana - latimes.com

Los Angeles Times editorial. For a muscular agency that combats vicious drug criminals, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration acts like a terrified and obstinate toddler when it comes to basic science. For years, the DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse have made it all but impossible to develop a robust body of research on the medical uses of marijuana.A pro-marijuana group lost its legal battle this week when a federal appellate court ruled that marijuana would remain a Schedule I drug, defined as having no accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse. The court deferred to the judgment of federal authorities, quoting the DEA's statement that "the effectiveness of a drug must be established in well-controlled, well-designed, well-conducted and well-documented scientific studies.... To date, such studies have not been performed."But guess who bears responsibility for this level of ignorance? The DEA itself, which through its ultra-tight restrictions on marijuana has made it nearly impossible for researchers to obtain the drug for study, and the National Institute for Drug Abuse, which controls the availability of the tiny quantity of research-grade marijuana that is federally approved for production.The few, smaller studies conducted so far suggest marijuana has promise as a medicine, but they're far from conclusive. The National Cancer Institute and the Institute of Medicine support further research.The judges had it right: In the absence of scientific evidence, they are not in a position to make medical decisions for the country or to set research priorities for the U.S. government. But the Obama administration can and should put the dark ages of uninformed fear behind us and release the death grip of the DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse on research-grade marijuana. President Obama then should direct the National Institutes of Health to fund worthwhile research, just as he recently ordered the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence.

via DEA continues to hide behind self-created ignorance on marijuana - latimes.com.

Is Cannabis Really That Bad?

Here is a fairly well-balanced look at what marijuana does and what, if any, risks there are from using it. Of course the author is a bit conservative when addressing the possible benefits, downplaying or dismissing them somewhat, but the evidence is solid, regular use of marijuana improves health more than it harms health. The Scientist Is Cannabis Really That Bad? Though some studies point to negative consequences of pot use in adolescents, data on marijuana’s dangers are mixed.

By Sabrina Richards | January 23, 2013

Marijuana is a tricky drug, alternately demonized as a gateway drug and lionized for its medical promise. And while the juries remain out on both sides of the coin, one thing is clear: its use is on the rise. According to the US Department of Human Health and Services, the number of people in the United States who admit to smoking pot in the last month climbed from 14.4 million in 2007 to over 18 million in 2011.

This increase may in part be due to the lack of strong evidence supporting the suspected risks of cannabis use. Indeed, though marijuana smoke carries carcinogens and tar just as tobacco smoke does, definitive data linking marijuana to lung damage is lacking. And a recent long-term study that seemed to conclusively link chronic marijuana initiated in adolescence to a lowered IQ in New Zealanders was quickly challenged by a counter-analysis that pointed to socioeconomic status as a confounding factor. According to survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cannabis use increases in teenagers as marijuana’s perceived risks decline, and researchers—and undoubtedly some parents—are anxious to get to the bottom of the matter.

Take a deep breath

In 2012, a study at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) calculated that even smoking a single joint every day for 20 years might be benign, though most participants only smoked two or three joints each month. “I was surprised we didn’t see effects [of marijuana use],” said UCSF epidemiologist Mark Pletcher, who led the study.

One assessment of various epidemiological studies points to small sample size and poor study design as reasons for scientists’ inability to nail down a link between cannabis and cancer risk. But some suspect that such a link doesn’t exist, and that marijuana may even have cancer-preventive effects. A 2008 study, for example, suggested that smoking marijuana may reduce the risk of tobacco-associated lung cancer, calculating that people who smoke both marijuana and tobacco have a lower risk of cancer than those who smoke only tobacco (though still a higher risk than non-smokers).

But even Pletcher isn’t sanguine about marijuana’s effects on the lungs, and suspects that there may still be long-term lung damage that can be hard to detect. “We really can’t reassure ourselves about heavy use,” he explained.

Your brain on drugs

There is some evidence to suggest that stoned subjects exhibit increased risk-taking and impaired decision-making, and score worse on memory tasks—and residual impairments have been detected days or even weeks after use. Some studies also link years of regular marijuana use to deficits in memory, learning, and concentration. A recent and widely discussed report on the IQs of New Zealanders followed since birth found that cannabis users who’d started their habit in adolescence had lower IQs than non-users.

In this study, led by researchers at Duke University, “you could clearly see as a consequence of cannabis use, IQ goes down,” said Derik Hermann, a clinical neuroscientist at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Germany who was not involved in the research.

But not 4 months later, a re-analysis and computer simulation at the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Oslo countered the Duke findings. Ole Rogeberg contended that socioeconomic factors, not marijuana use, contributed to the lower IQs seen in cannabis users.

Rogeberg’s conclusion counters a sizeable literature, however, which supports a link between pot use and neurophysiological decline. Studies in both humans and animals suggest that people who acquiring a marijuana habit in adolescence face long-term negative impacts on brain function, with some users finding it difficult to concentrate and learn new tasks.

Notably, most studies on the subject suggest that while there may be negative consequences of smoking as a teen, users who begin in adulthood are generally unaffected. This may be due to endocannabinoid-directed reorganization of the brain during puberty, Hermann explained. The intake of cannabinoids that comes with pot use may cause irreversible “misleading of the neural growth,” he said.

In addition to the consequences for intelligence, many studies suggest that smoking marijuana raises the risk of schizophrenia, and may have similar effects on the brain. Hermann’s group used MRI to detect cannabis-associated neuron damage in the pre-frontal cortex and found that it was similar to brain changes seen in schizophrenia patients. Other studies further suggest that weed-smoking schizophrenics have greater disease-associated brain changes and perform worse on cognitive tests than their non-smoking counterparts.

But much of this research can’t distinguish between brain changes resulting from marijuana use and symptoms associated with the disease. It’s possible that cannabis-smoking schizophrenics “might have unpleasant symptoms [that precede full-blown schizophrenia] and are self-medicating” with the psychotropic drug, said Roland Lamarine, a professor of community health at California State University, Chico. “We haven’t seen an increase in schizophrenics, even with a lot more marijuana use.”

In fact, other research suggests that cannabis-using schizophrenics score better on cognitive tests than non-using schizophrenics. Such conflicting reports may be due to the varying concentrations—and varying effects—of cannabinoids in marijuana. In addition to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a neurotoxic cannabinoid that is responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering properties, the drug also contains a variety of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD), which can protect against neuron damage. Hermann found that the volume of the hippocampus—a brain area important for memory processing—is slightly smaller in cannabis users than in non-users, but more CBD-rich marijuana countered this effect.

A deadly cocktail?

While data supporting the harmful effects of marijuana on its own are weak, some researchers are more worried about the drug in conjunction with other substances, such as tobacco, alcohol, or cocaine. Some studies suggest, for example, that marijuana may increase cravings for other drugs, leading to its infamous tag as a “gateway drug.” A study published earlier this month supported this theory when it found that, at least in rats, THC exposure increases tobacco’s addictive effects. Furthermore, marijuana may not mix well with prescription drugs, as cannabis causes the liver to metabolize drugs more slowly, raising the risk of drug toxicity.

Despite these concerns, however, Lamarine thinks it’s unlikely that the consequences of cannabis use are dire, given the amount of research that has focused on the subject. “We’re not going to wake up tomorrow to the big discovery that marijuana causes major brain damage,” he said. “We would have seen that by now.”