Yes, you read the title properly—and yes, it is true!
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the government funded research institution, has the mission of leading the Nation in bringing the power of science to drug abuse and addiction. They recently updated their site in April of 2015 to cite a study done at St.George’s University in London regarding the medicinal effects of cannabis and brain cancer.
The following quote was taken from NIDA’s, Drug Facts: Is Marijuana Medicine:
Recent animal studies have shown that marijuana extracts may help kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one cell culture study suggests that purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors. Research in mice showed that treatment with purified extracts of THC and CBD, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation
Although the medicinal and health benefits of cannabis have been long known, having a federally funded site admit and cite research on the curative effects is both surprising and exciting.
Before this addition, the government and National Cancer Institute (NCI) had only admitted that the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. Dr. Wai Liu, the head researcher on this investigation, stated that the animals were tested and treated in a number of ways. Some solely with irradiation, others with only cannabinoids, as well as a group with both. Dr. Liu found that those treated with both irradiation and cannabinoids saw the most beneficial results including a drastic reduction in tumor size. In some cases, the tumors effectively disappeared in the animals.
This does not mean that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is going to approve cannabis for cancer treatment anytime soon. However, it is still an important step in the right direction for national medical marijuana—and is an indication that more research will be dedicated towards marijuana’s effects.
Featured image Y.Vainitski