Learn about cannabis with Medicine Box. This week, we talk about how cannabis can help fight cancer and improve the quality of life for patients, what law enforcement is learning about legalization, how some prison vendors are funding prohibition, why the FDA doesn’t think cannabis is a medicine, and how to learn the right doses for medical marijuana.
If all of the measures succeed, it could force federal lawmakers to reconcile restrictive federal drug laws with shifting public opinion. Marijuana is classified by the federal government as a Schedule I controlled substance, which puts it in the same category as heroin and LSD, yet the latest national polls show 57 percent of U.S. adults now think weed should be legal.
Removing marijuana from Schedule I would require an act of Congress; federal regulators have repeatedly stymied efforts to downgrade weed to a less restrictive classification — and now we know why. VICE News obtained 118 pages of documents (viewable in full below) that show why the feds believe marijuana is not medicine, despite the fact that 25 states and Washington, D.C., now have medical marijuana laws on the books.
Here are some highlights of the FDA findings:
- Cannabis is addictive to monkeys.
- People prefer to smoke cannabis rather than take it in pill form.
- Cannabis changes the way people feel, both mentally and physically.
- It is both popular and easy to obtain.
The report also notes several reasons that cannabis is safe, including:
- It’s not a gateway drug.
- It hasn’t been shown to cause cancer.
- Cannabis does not cause mental illness.
- Monkeys notwithstanding, it’s no more addictive than tobacco. (Most researchers believe it’s significantly less addictive than tobacco.)
The Vice article goes into far more depth about this issue — check it out.
North-West’s biochemists isolated cervical cancer cells in a Petri dish-test tube environment and subjected the cells to extracts of basic cannabis sativa and distilled CBD. The in vitro experimentation showed that both basic cannabis sativa and CBD were able “to halt cell proliferation in all cell lines at varying concentrations.”
Beyond halting proliferation, the CBD concentrates induced a process the scientists call apoptosis in the cervical cancer cells. Apoptosis, in general, means “the normal and controlled death of cells that occurs as part of an organism’s growth or development.”
This is great news. It’s too early to get excited: in vitro results do not necessarily mean that the same thing will happen in humans, but it’s hard to learn about something that might stop cancer without feeling happy.
The study didn’t go into detail about the cancer cells, but it’s worth noting that 70% of cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is sexually transmittable and it can also cause cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, rectum, and throat. This study could be the beginning of a treatment that saves countless lives.
Preliminary research indicates that cannabis may contain some cancer fighting agents. A 2015 study examining the anti-tumour role of cannabidiol (CBD), a non psychoactive component of cannabis, indicates that CBD has great potential to inhibit tumour growth in a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer called Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. These findings are echoed by additional research which investigates the potential of CBD as an anticancer drug. Research also shows that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol has the potential to induce programmed cell death, or apoptosis, and also inhibits tumour growth without any toxic effects on healthy cells.
Additional research is needed in this extremely important realm. However, we do know that cannabis has therapeutic effects which can assist with cancer related pain, nausea, vomiting and anorexia. It can additionally promote a sense of calm during this extremely difficult time.
While we’re still learning about how cannabis can help fight cancer, we do know that it improves the quality of life for many patients.
Cancer can rob people of things most of us take for granted: sleeping, eating food, and living without pain. Cannabis has been shown to help people sleep, stimulate appetite and help people keep food down, and to help manage pain.
While I hope that researchers find an effective way to fight cancer with cannabis, an improved quality of life is an excellent start.
So, why would Food Services of America have an interest in keeping cannabis illegal? Well, their reasoning is the same as the rest of the industries who are donating: money.
If cannabis were made legal, many low-level criminals would be released from prison, meaning the company would need to provide fewer meals. As the cannabis movement went into full effect, fewer individuals would be arrested for the victimless crime of possessing cannabis, resulting in fewer meal orders for the company.
In the end, it’s all about protecting the bottom dollar, not the rights of the wrongly accused.
There are many complex issues that will be decided on November 8th. Sometimes it’s hard to know what the best choice is — the wording on the ballot is often confusing, we hear wildly different statements from the opposing sides, or we’re just not very familiar with the issue at hand.
One of the best ways to clear things up is to follow the money. Once you know who is paying to share what opinion, motives are usually obvious.
When prohibition ends, it will be much harder to arrest hundreds of thousands of people every year for simple possession. That means fewer people in our prisons and less money for people who profit from the incarceration of people who commit victimless crimes. I can live with that.
Two years later, Cobb admits that many of his initial fears were largely unfounded. Union Gap hasn’t seen a rise in underage use or cannabis-related driving infractions. Officers get called to the retail stores, Cobb says, “but it’s for the same types of calls that we get for any other business in town.”
Although Cobb is careful to say he’s not endorsing retail marijuana sales. He wants to see more long-term data on DUIs and underage use. But he admits, “the things I projected would occur to date haven’t occurred.”
Let’s hope that other law enforcement officials learn from the experience of police in legal states. Legalizing cannabis simply is not the end of the world. It doesn’t increase crime rates and it doesn’t hurt the people they are supposed to protect.
Increasingly, it feels like civilians are at odds with law enforcement, but cannabis provides an opportunity to change that. Over half of the country wants to see cannabis legalized, but most law enforcement officials are still clinging to the failed drug war. Being open-minded enough to educate themselves about the realities of legalization and brave enough to support the wishes of the communities they serve would be one way to bridge the gap between police and citizens.
Cannabis is different to prescription medication: in many instances, a medical marijuana dosage is the responsibility of the patient, rather than the prescribing physician. As an MMJ patient, I was required to ‘titrate’ my cannabis dosage without the supervision of a doctor. This means I gradually increased the dosage of my medication until the optimal dosage was reached. To ‘self-titrate’ means to adjust the dosage of your own medication as needed. This is common with medical marijuana, and the desired outcome is to consume as little as you need to find relief from your symptoms.
Self-titrating cannabis can be intimidating, both heavy recreational cannabis users and those with no cannabis experience at all may find that responsible research a helpful tool before embarking on this journey. As a recreational consumer, my daily cannabis use masked true symptoms that were treatable with LESS cannabis or with strains known to alleviate certain ailments. Reducing my consumption and being selective about the cannabis I use has assisted medical symptoms and improved my overall health and wellness.
Researching cannabis, even for medical purposes, is still very difficult in this country. That means most patients are on their own when it comes to determining the best dosage for their individual needs. While there’s some anecdotal evidence available, paying close attention to your own body is still the best advice available.
What would you like to learn about cannabis? Share your requests or cannabis news in the comments or on our Facebook page.