Archive for January, 2011

The Relationship between Medical Marijuana and Cancer

One is a definite killer and the other is known to kill if abused without control, but even so, the link between cancer and marijuana is inextricable. If you want to be politically correct, you could call it medical marijuana, but there’s no real difference in the chemical properties of marijuana and medical marijuana – the only disparity is in how the drug is used. Marijuana has been proven to be effective in helping people with terminal cancer deal with the horrendous and continuous pain. It is an approved form of medication in the states where it is legalized.

But how many of us know that marijuana can actually stop the growth of cancer by targeting and destroying cancerous cells even while leaving healthy cells intact? Researchers in Madrid, Spain tested the effect of the molecule THC (tetra hydro cannabinol, which belongs to the chemical class cannabinoids which is found in the marijuana plant. It is also the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects that affect your brain and dim your mental faculties when you smoke or consume marijuana) on mice that carried grafts of human brain cancer. The TCH stimulated the cancerous cells to initiate their own breakdown, sort of like enabling them to push the auto-destruct button on themselves, thus paving the way for a new breakthrough in the treatment of cancer.

Another study conducted at Harvard University a few years ago found that TCH proved useful in reducing the growth of lung cancer tumors by negating their aggressiveness and making them more susceptible to destruction during chemotherapy. These research initiatives go to show how useful marijuana is in not just the management of cancer (as a way to boost appetite and control pain), but also in its treatment and possible cure.

A different story that offers more hope (but which is not medically proven) is that of Brett Strauss – diagnosed with thyroid cancer, he took to rubbing the area around his tumor with cannabis cream. In just two months’ time, the tumors were found to be benign. Now this may be a miracle, but it could have been a miracle wrought by marijuana. Strauss is now so overjoyed at his results that he wants to share his good luck with others who deserve it. So he’s offering terminally ill cancer patients a chance to undergo marijuana therapy at the Colorado Compassionate Physicians at his own cost.

The fact is that marijuana holds great promise in the field of cancer research and treatment, and if used wisely and responsibly, it could help many more patients than it currently does.

Posted on 25 January '11 by , under Uncategorized.

Nanotechnology to Fight Cancer

It’s arguably the most horrible disease known to man, and even though it’s been around for ages, we’re yet to find a cure for this deadly illness we know as cancer. It’s a poison that kills you slowly, and with a great deal of both physical and emotional pain and suffering, but that’s not the worst part – what’s really unbearable is that you know you’re definitely going to die, and suffer through the process. But if there’s one spark of hope for cancer and those who’re being affected by the disease, it’s the one being generated by the field of nanotechnology.

The problem with current methods of treatment of cancer is that they destroy healthy cells as well when they destroy the cancerous ones. And this causes you to suffer side effects and other adverse consequences. Nanotechnology comes to the rescue in such situations by targeting only the cancerous cells using tiny particles that are used to inject the cancer-killing medicine exactly where they’re needed and nowhere else. This form of targeted therapy is now being used not only to deliver medication but also to turn off the proteins that are associated with and contribute to the growth of cancerous cells.

The process is called RNA interference, and was proven to work during a study conducted by the California Institute of Technology on patients with melanoma, a form of skin cancer. The nanoparticles, which are 70 nanometers across and hence smaller than most viruses, are injected directly into the patients’ bloodstream. The number of nanoparticles that enter the tumor cells depends on the number you inject into the bloodstream – the more you send, the more cancer-causing cells you kill.

Another advantage of using nanotechnology in the treatment of cancer is that you can pack a variety of materials into one single nanoparticle – so not only is it possible to target the tumor accurately, it also holds future possibilities as an imaging agent to facilitate the observation of a tumor as it progresses through therapy.

Nanotechnology holds much promise in the treatment and prevention of cancer, and even though it has been proven to work effectively in animals for over a decade, it is only now that visible and encouraging results are being seen in human beings.

Posted on 18 January '11 by , under Uncategorized.