Pot Shrinks Tumors: Government Knew in 74

Posted by FoM on June 06, 2000 at 19:15:06 PT
By Raymond Cushing, AlterNet
Source: AlterNet

The term medical marijuana took on dramatic new meaning in February when researchers in Madrid announced they had destroyed incurable brain cancer tumors in rats by injecting them with THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

The Madrid study marks only the second time that THC has been administered to tumor-bearing animals; the first was a Virginia investigation 26 years ago. In both studies, the THC shrank or destroyed tumors in a majority of the test subjects.

Most Americans don't know anything about the Madrid discovery. Virtually no U.S. newspapers carried the story, which ran only once on the AP and UPI news wires, on Feb. 29.

The ominous part is that this isn't the first time scientists have discovered that THC shrinks tumors. In 1974 researchers at the Medical College of Virginia, who had been funded by the National Institute of Health to find evidence that marijuana damages the immune system, found instead that THC slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice -- lung and breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.

The DEA quickly shut down the Virginia study and all further cannabis/tumor research, according to Jack Herer, who reports on the events in his book, "The Emperor Wears No Clothes." In 1976 President Gerald Ford put an end to all public cannabis research and granted exclusive research rights to major pharmaceutical companies, who set out -- unsuccessfully -- to develop synthetic forms of THC that would deliver all the medical benefits without the "high."

The Madrid researchers reported in the March issue of "Nature Medicine" that they injected the brains of 45 rats with cancer cells, producing tumors whose presence they confirmed through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). On the 12th day they injected 15 of the rats with THC and 15 with Win-55,212-2 a synthetic compound similar to THC.

"All the rats left untreated uniformly died 12-18 days after glioma (brain cancer) cell inoculation ... Cannabinoid (THC)-treated rats survived significantly longer than control rats. THC administration was ineffective in three rats, which died by days 16-18. Nine of the THC-treated rats surpassed the time of death of untreated rats, and survived up to 19-35 days. Moreover, the tumor was completely eradicated in three of the treated rats." The rats treated with Win-55,212-2 showed similar results.

The Spanish researchers, led by Dr. Manuel Guzman of Complutense University, also irrigated healthy rats' brains with large doses of THC for seven days, to test for harmful biochemical or neurological effects. They found none.

"Careful MRI analysis of all those tumor-free rats showed no sign of damage related to necrosis, edema, infection or trauma ... We also examined other potential side effects of cannabinoid administration. In both tumor-free and tumor bearing rats, cannabinoid administration induced no substantial change in behavioral parameters such as motor coordination or physical activity. Food and water intake as well as body weight gain were unaffected during and after cannabinoid delivery. Likewise, the general hematological profiles of cannabinoid-treated rats were normal. Thus, neither biochemical parameters nor markers of tissue damage changed substantially during the 7-day delivery period or for at least 2 months after cannabinoid treatment ended."

Guzman's investigation is the only time since the 1974 Virginia study that THC has been administered to live tumor bearing animals.
(The Spanish researchers cite a 1998 study in which cannabinoids inhibited breast cancer cell proliferation, but that was a "petri dish" experiment that didn't involve live subjects.)

In an email interview for this story, the Madrid researcher said he had heard of the Virginia study, but had never been able to locate literature on it. Hence, the Nature Medicine article characterizes the new study as the first on tumor laden animals and doesn't cite the
1974 Virginia investigation.

"I am aware of the existence of that research. In fact I have attempted many times to obtain the journal article on the original investigation by these people, but it has proven impossible." Guzman said.

In 1983 the Reagan/Bush Administration tried to persuade American universities and researchers to destroy all 1966-76 cannabis research work, including compendiums in libraries, reports Jack Herer, who states, "We know that large amounts of information have since disappeared."

Guzman provided the title of the work -- "Antineoplastic activity of cannabinoids," an article in a 1975 Journal of the National Cancer Institute -- and this writer obtained a copy at the UC medical school library in Davis and faxed it to Madrid.

The summary of the Virginia study begins, "Lewis lung adenocarcinoma growth was retarded by the oral administration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN)" -- two types of cannabinoids, a family of active components in marijuana. "Mice treated for 20 consecutive days with THC and CBN had reduced primary tumor size."

The 1975 journal article doesn't mention breast cancer tumors, which featured in the only newspaper story ever to appear about the 1974 study -- in the Local section of the Washington Post on August 18, 1974. Under the headline, "Cancer Curb Is Studied," it read in part:

"The active chemical agent in marijuana curbs the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice and may also suppress the immunity reaction that causes rejection of organ transplants, a Medical College of Virginia team has discovered." The researchers "found that THC slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by
as much as 36 percent."

Guzman, writing from Madrid, was eloquent in his response after this writer faxed him the clipping from the Washington Post of a quarter century ago. In translation, he wrote:

"It is extremely interesting to me, the hope that the project seemed to awaken at that moment, and the sad evolution (lastimosa evolucion) of events during the years following the discovery, until now we once again draw back the veil' over the anti-tumoral power of THC, twenty-five years later. Unfortunately, the world bumps along between such moments of hope and long periods of intellectual castration."

News coverage of the Madrid discovery has been virtually nonexistent in this country. The news broke quietly on Feb. 29 with a story that ran once on the UPI wire about the Nature Medicine article. This writer stumbled on it through a link that appeared briefly on the Drudge Report web page. The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times all ignored the story, even though its newsworthiness is indisputable: a benign substance occurring in nature destroys deadly brain tumors.

For the full story, pick up "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" by Jack Herer, or log on for excerpts from the book at:


Raymond Cushing is a regular contributor to the Sacramento News & Review and the Anderson Valley (CA) Advertiser.

Pot Shrinks Tumors: Government Knew in 74
May 31, 2000
2000 AlterNet.Org

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Comments fromCannabis News

Comment #6 posted by observer on June 07, 2000 at 13:59:26 PT
``media so keen to push anti-drug news''

News coverage of the Madrid discovery has been virtually nonexistent in this country. The news broke quietly on Feb. 29 with a story that ran once on the UPI wire about the Nature Medicine article. This writer stumbled on it through a link that appeared briefly on the Drudge Report web page.
The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times all ignored the story, even though its newsworthiness is indisputable: a benign substance occurring in nature destroys deadly brain tumors.

only 4 mentions here:

contrast that to the number of mentions of this NIDA, non-peer reviewed study that found a slight statistical correlation between tobacco smokers that also used marijuana and having heart attacks: (29 mentions)

one publication mentined:

``The brain cancer study, conducted by scientists at Complutense University in Spain and published in the March issue of Nature's sister journal, Nature Medicine, found that THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in pot, seemed to eradicate brain tumours in one-third of the rats treated and prolong the survival of another third -- although it wasn't clear whether it was the THC or the liquid used to infuse it into the brain that caused the remissions. Neither of these studies caused anywhere near the flurry of media attention,
though, that went to Murray Mittleman. The researcher at the Harvard school of public health presented a short abstract of preliminary findings at an American Heart Association conference in San Diego last month claiming that the risk of a heart attack is five times higher than usual in the hour after smoking a joint. ... between heart attacks and a recent toke remains valid, though he's unable to provide any hard numbers. It's revealing how such preliminary, unpublished data could produce such a rash of media headlines trumpeting Mittleman's findings as evidence of yet another of the demon weed's many hazards. ''
Reefer-Mad In Newsroom

Another publication noticed the exact same thing:

''Are the media so keen to push anti-drug news that they're prepared to sacrifice scientific credibility? More evidence that reporters spotlight stories which reflect the prevailing biases: Of three recent studies on marijuana, the American media focused most heavily on the one that showed negative effects, while the British media gave greater weight to the two which found the drug's actions to have
positive results...''

Then there was the suppressed UN WHO study a few years back...

``Health officials in Geneva have suppressed the publication of a politically sensitive analysis that confirms what ageing hippies have known for decades: cannabis is safer than alcohol or tobacco. According to a document leaked to New Scientist, the analysis concludes not only that the amount of dope smoked worldwide does less harm to public health than drink and cigarettes, but that the same is likely to hold true even if people consumed dope on the same scale as these legal substances. The comparison was due to
appear in a report on the harmful effects of cannabis published last December by the WHO. But it was ditched at the last minute following a long and intense dispute between WHO officials, the cannabis experts who drafted the report and a group of external advisers.
marijuana.newscientist.com/nsplus/insight/drugs/marijuana/news.html February 1998
What the WHO doesn't want you to know about cannabis

Par for the course: play up anything that can be plausibly spun as indicating that cannabis is harmful; yet lie about and ignore anything that shows cannabis is beneficial. All to justify the stealing from, killing and destruction of cannabis users.

It is a good thing that our government "cares" for us so. We might get hurt and suffer, otherwise.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by FoM on June 07, 2000 at 11:04:59 PT
Thanks observer

Hi observer and everyone!

I'm going to read about Antineoplastic activity and Cannabanoids.

Thank You!

I was able to shorten the url a little bit by cutting out some of the characters if that's what they call them.

Good to see you back.

Peace, FoM!


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by observer on June 07, 2000 at 10:08:13 PT

Guzman provided the title of the work -- "Antineoplastic activity of cannabinoids," an article in a 1975 Journal of the National Cancer Institute -- and this writer obtained a copy at the UC medical school library in Davis and faxed it to Madrid.

A.E. Munson, L.S. Harris, M.A. Friedman, W.L. Dewey, and R.A. Carchman* Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 55, No. 3, September 1975 Supported by Public Health Service grant DA00490 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Health Services & Mental Health Administration; by a grant from the Alexander and Margaret Stewart Trust Fund; and by an institutional grant from the American Cancer Society. Department of Pharmacology and the MCV/VCU Cancer Center, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University. Richmond, Va. 23298


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Puritan on June 07, 2000 at 06:14:44 PT

No lie to too large, no price is too great to continue "protecting" our beloved children (what used to be free people!)from the ravages of the demon marijuana. So what if people die in the process, after all this is war and in any war casualties are to be expected.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on June 07, 2000 at 05:38:15 PT:
The Greatest Lie, proven yet again.

Hi, I'm from the government, I'm here to help you! ...into your graves.

A good friend of mine, a truly decent guy, died 2 years ago from the glial cell brain cancer that this experiment apparently had some success in treating. You have to wonder how many thousands of loved ones, friends, little kids, so many, many people who might be alive today... were it not for a government that likes to play God.

There's another truth being borne out, here:

'Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force! Like fire, it is a useful servant and a fearful master.' - George Washington.

For the past 30 some years, the Federal government of the US has been moving steadily from being a 'useful servant' to becoming a jackbooted, black-clad, body-armored 'fearful master' of the first order. Directly (Esequiel Hernandez, David Scott, Ismael Mena, and others shot to death in their WoSD) and indirectly (through suppression of life saving anti-cancer research like this) it has been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands (since they suppressed that research in 1974, remember?) innocent people.

I welcome those who have short memories to re-visit a thread that speaks to the heart of this mess, and review the comments made there. Then ask yourself if you want to sit down to table with people who do this kind of thing with such alarming callousness.


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by military officer guy on June 06, 2000 at 21:20:14 PT

please send this article to everyone you know...we can win this war, and we are winning this war...

"All war starts with deception":rollin
"The truth is the first casualty of war"

Why cannabis prohibition got started. The danger of competition and the racism.:smokin

A quote from Harry Anslinger:evil

"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and
most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers.
Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana
usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual
relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."

Harry Anslinger, U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics, testifying
to Congress on why marijuana should be made illegal, 1937.
(Marijuana Tax Act, signed Aug. 2, 1937; effective Oct. 1,

Peace or WoD
Liberty or DEAth