Cancer - lung

Medical marijuana studies.

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Cancer - lung

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Apr 13, 2006 1:46 pm

Counterpunch wrote:Independence Day Weekend Edition
July 2 / 4, 2005

Pot Shots
Study: Smoking Marijuana Does Not Cause Lung Cancer
By FRED GARDNER


Marijuana smoking -"even heavy longterm use"- does not cause cancer of the lung, upper airwaves, or esophagus, Donald Tashkin reported at this year's meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. Coming from Tashkin, this conclusion had extra significance for the assembled drug-company and university-based scientists (most of whom get funding from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse). Over the years, Tashkin's lab at UCLA has produced irrefutable evidence of the damage that marijuana smoke wreaks on bronchial tissue. With NIDA's support, Tashkin and colleagues have identified the potent carcinogens in marijuana smoke, biopsied and made photomicrographs of pre-malignant cells, and studied the molecular changes occurring within them. It is Tashkin's research that the Drug Czar's office cites in ads linking marijuana to lung cancer. Tashkin himself has long believed in a causal relationship, despite a study in which Stephen Sidney examined the files of 64,000 Kaiser patients and found that marijuana users didn't develop lung cancer at a higher rate or die earlier than non-users. Of five smaller studies on the question, only two -involving a total of about 300 patients- concluded that marijuana smoking causes lung cancer. Tashkin decided to settle the question by conducting a large, prospectively designed, population-based, case-controlled study. "Our major hypothesis," he told the ICRS, "was that heavy, longterm use of marijuana will increase the risk of lung and upper-airwaves cancers."

The Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance program provided Tashkin's team with the names of 1,209 L.A. residents aged 59 or younger with cancer (611 lung, 403 oral/pharyngeal, 90 laryngeal, 108 esophageal). Interviewers collected extensive lifetime histories of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and other drug use, and data on diet, occupational exposures, family history of cancer, and various "socio-demographic factors." Exposure to marijuana was measured in joint years (joints per day x 365). Controls were found based on age, gender and neighborhood. Among them, 46% had never used marijuana, 31% had used less than one joint year, 12% had used 10-30 j-yrs, 2% had used 30-60 j-yrs, and 3% had used for more than 60 j-yrs. Tashkin controlled for tobacco use and calculated the relative risk of marijuana use resulting in lung and upper airwaves cancers. All the odds ratios turned out to be less than one (one being equal to the control group's chances)! Compared with subjects who had used less than one joint year, the estimated odds ratios for lung cancer were .78; for 1-10 j-yrs, .74; for 10-30 j-yrs, .85 for 30-60 j-yrs; and 0.81 for more than 60 j-yrs. The estimated odds ratios for oral/pharyngeal cancers were 0.92 for 1-10 j-yrs; 0.89 for 10-30 j-yrs; 0.81 for 30-60 j-yrs; and 1.0 for more than 60 j-yrs. "Similar, though less precise results were obtained for the other cancer sites," Tashkin reported. "We found absolutely no suggestion of a dose response." The data on tobacco use, as expected, revealed "a very potent effect and a clear dose-response relationship -a 21-fold greater risk of developing lung cancer if you smoke more than two packs a day." Similarly high odds obtained for oral/pharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer and esophageal cancer. "So, in summary" Tashkin concluded, "we failed to observe a positive association of marijuana use and other potential confounders."

There was time for only one question, said the moderator, and San Francisco oncologist Donald Abrams, M.D., was already at the microphone: "You don't see any positive correlation, but in at least one category [marijuana-only smokers and lung cancer], it almost looked like there was a negative correlation, i.e., a protective effect. Could you comment on that?"

"Yes," said Tashkin. "The odds ratios are less than one almost consistently, and in one category that relationship was significant, but I think that it would be difficult to extract from these data the conclusion that marijuana is protective against lung cancer. But that is not an unreasonable hypothesis."

Abrams had results of his own to report at the ICRS meeting. He and his colleagues at San Francisco General Hospital had conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled study involving 50 patients with HIV-related peripheral neuropathy. Over the course of five days, patients recorded their pain levels in a diary after smoking either NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes or cigarettes from which the THC had been extracted. About 25% didn't know or guessed wrong as to whether they were smoking the placebos, which suggests that the blinding worked. Abrams requested that his results not be described in detail prior to publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal, but we can generalize: they exceeded expectations, and show marijuana providing pain relief comparable to Gabapentin, the most widely used treatment for a condition that afflicts some 30% of patients with HIV.

To a questioner who bemoaned the difficulty of "separating the high from the clinical benefits," Abrams replied: "I'm an oncologist as well as an AIDS doctor and I don't think that a drug that creates euphoria in patients with terminal diseases is having an adverse effect." His study was funded by the University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.

Last edited by palmspringsbum on Wed Nov 29, 2006 10:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby rsteeb » Mon May 01, 2006 10:05 pm

http://www.alternet.org/story/9257/

THC was demonstrated to suppress three kinds of cancer in 1974.

Our public servants quickly stopped the study and buried the data.

WTF? :censored: :?
"When TYRANNY is abroad, SUBMISSION is the crime."
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Postby palmspringsbum » Wed May 24, 2006 4:02 pm

Forbes wrote:Heavy Pot Smoking Doesn't Increase Lung Cancer Risk: Study

Forbes
05.24.06, 12:00 AM ET

WEDNESDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. study concludes there is no link between smoking marijuana and increased risk of lung cancer -- even among heavy, long-term users.

The California researchers also found that smoking marijuana does not appear to increase the risk of head and neck cancers, such as cancer of the tongue, mouth, throat or esophagus.

The study included 611 people in the Los Angeles area who developed lung cancer, 601 people with cancer of the head or neck regions, and 1,040 cancer-free people matched on age, gender and neighborhood.

All the study participants were under age 60. They were asked about their lifetime use of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, other drug use, diet, occupation, family history of cancer, and socioeconomic status. The heaviest marijuana users in the study had smoked more than 22,000 marijuana cigarettes, while moderately heavy users had smoked between 11,000 to 22,000 joints.

People who smoked more marijuana did not have any increased risk of cancer compared to those who smoked less marijuana or none at all, the study found.

The study was expected to be presented Tuesday at the American Thoracic Society International Conference, in San Diego.

The researchers said they were surprised by the findings.

"We expected that we would find that a history of heavy marijuana use -- more than 500-1,000 uses -- would increase the risk of cancer from several years to decades after exposure to marijuana," senior researcher Dr. Donald Tashkin, a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, said in a prepared statement.

Tashkin said one possible explanation is that THC, a chemical in marijuana smoke, may encourage aging cells to die earlier than normal, reducing the likelihood that they'll transform into cancer cells.



Strike two for Tashkin... :lachtot:

But why is he surprised after the UCLA study concluded the same thing nearly a year ago...

...well, actually, the UCLA study concluded cannabis smokers were 10-25% LESS likely to develop cancer than NONSMOKERS.
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Postby palmspringsbum » Thu May 25, 2006 10:59 am

STATS wrote:New Marijuana Study Suggests FDA Statement Wrong

May 24 2006
Maia Szalavitz
STATS

No elevated risk for lung cancer even for heavy pot smokers

When the Institute of Medicine wrote its 1999 report on the medical research on marijuana, it seemed to use the fact that the drug was smoked as a kind of “get out” clause, in what appeared to be an attempt to avoid appearing to fully endorse medical marijuana.

Although it did debunk fears about marijuana as a “gateway drug” and the idea that it is highly addictive and noted that marijuana held promise in the treatment of a number of conditions, the group’s report said that because “of the health risks associated with smoking, smoked marijuana should generally not be recommended for long term use.”

Even though the Institute of Medicine is the organization specifically delegated by Congress to find the best answers to scientific controversies, the FDA recently ignored this report and numerous other studies with similar findings and claimed in a press release – without any supporting evidence – that smoked marijuana has no legitimate medical use.

Both groups, as well as the drug czar’s office, are likely to want to resort to drugs themselves when they see the latest data presented by UCLA researcher Donald Tashkin. At a meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society last year, Tashkin presented early results of a large case-control study exploring the link between marijuana smoking and lung cancer. He found no connection. Now, he’s presented his latest resultsat the American Thoracic Society. While the study found that people who smoked two packs a day of cigarettes had a twenty-fold higher risk for lung cancer, even the heaviest marijuana users had no elevated risk of lung cancer.

STATS will be interested to see how widely this study is covered in the media, which tend to focus generally on studies that find connections between drugs and disease while ignoring those that don’t find correlations. And this tendency is magnified when the drugs in question are illegal, of course.

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Postby budman » Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:24 am

Counterpunch wrote:Weekend Edition
June 3 / 4, 2006

Pot Shots

Dr. Tashkin Makes the News

By FRED GARDNER

"Marijuana Does Not Raise Lung Cancer Risk," proclaimed the headlines on May 23, over stories about Donald Tashkin's talk at the American Thoracic Society conference in San Diego. Dr. Tashkin led a team of UCLA investigators who conducted a large, population-based, case-controlled study looking for links between marijuana use and the risk of lung cancer in middle-aged adults living in Los Angeles County. They concluded, "We did not observe a positive association of marijuana use, even heavy long-term use, with lung cancer, controlling for tobacco smoking and other potential confounders" (age, sex, race, educational level).

Tashkin originally announced his findings at last summer's meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, as reported in this column and O'Shaughnessy's. Only now has the story hit the mainstream media. It is being reported accurately but with Tashkin's conservative spin (downplaying the apparent protective effect exerted by THC and/or other components of the cannabis plant). The following from WebMD typifies the tone of the coverage:
<blockquote>
"The findings surprised the study's researchers, who expected to see an increase in cancer among people who smoked marijuana regularly in their youth. 'We know that there are as many or more carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke as in cigarettes,' researcher Donald Tashkin, MD, of UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine tells WebMD. 'But we did not find any evidence for an increase in cancer risk for even heavy marijuana smoking.' Cellular studies and even some studies in animal models suggest that THC has anti-tumor properties, either by encouraging the death of genetically damaged cells that can become cancerous or by restricting the development of the blood supply that feeds tumors, Tashkin tells WebMD...

"While there was a suggestion in the newly reported study that smoking marijuana is weakly protective against lung cancer, Tashkin says the very weak association was probably due to chance. Cancer risk among cigarette smokers was not influenced by whether or not they also smoked marijuana. 'We saw no interaction between marijuana and tobacco, and we certainly would not recommend that people smoke marijuana to protect themselves against cancer,' he says."
</blockquote>
Generally omitted from the coverage is the fact that Tashkin has devoted much of his career to the search for cannabis-induced lung damage, and that his findings have been the basis for all the Drug Czar's warnings over the years about marijuana as a carcinogen. Although Tashkin could isolate the cancer-causing components of cannabis smoke, and made frightening photomicrographs of damaged bronchial tissue, he never got the holy grail, the great white whale, a causal link to the Big C.

Philip Denney, MD, read the account of Tashkin's talk to the respiratory specialists in the Orange County Register and called to ask: "How does it make you feel when you broke the Tashkin story and the mainstream media picks it up nine months later and nobody credits you with the scoop?"

Well, not quite nobody -there's you, dear friend. And scoops were never my goal, for some reason. Of course a political journalist wants to reach the masses and influence the elites; but on another level, you're only writing for a few people whose opinions you care about. The medical marijuana movement in all its varied aspects is a great story and I feel lucky to be covering it, even if CounterPunch, the Anderson Valley Advertiser, and O'Shaughnessy's are "below the radar." The characters involved -the club owners, the doctors, the researchers, the activists, the growers, the patients (a term used rightly by the doctors and misused widely by people who really mean "customers")- could be the basis for a comic novel if I was any kind of writer... Chapter 37, in which a team of doctors and scientists from UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine determine that components of cannabis exert a protective effect on the lungs and then characterize their study as "a failure!"


Tylenol Kills (Why Do They Hate You?)

"Once in Chicago while performing with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West," wrote Roxane Dunbar, "Sitting Bull spoke through his translator to the huge crowd of ragged white men, women, and barefoot children: 'I know why your government hates me. I am their enemy. But why do they hate you?'" Robert Altman's great movie "Buffalo Bill and the Indians" doesn't quote the line but depicts the context, the dawn of the age of corporate hucksterism. Paul Newman plays Buffalo Bill, who runs and is the star attraction of a traveling show. One of the "acts" on display is laconic, brilliant Sitting Bull.

The Sioux leader's blunt question comes to mind with each example of the U.S. government's willingness to expose us, the people, to corporate products and practices that are literally killing us. To protect the beef producers the feds won't allow thorough testing for Mad Cow disease. To protect the poultry producers they tolerate high levels of salmonella in chicken, and even 500 ppb of arsenic! To protect the drug companies they outlaw the safest and most versatile pharmacological agent known to mankind and approve and even promote synthetic compounds with harmful-unto-death side effects. Vioxx, Celebrex, Rezulin, Fosamax, Seroquel, FenPhen, Prempro/Premarin

Get ready for a wave of stories revealing that Tylenol causes severe liver damage. Years ago the medical students at UC San Francisco called their Pathology rotation at General Hospital "Toadstools and Tylenol," because the only cases of poisoning they ever had to deal with involved mushrooms or acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Johnson & Johnson's best-selling painkiller. (McNeil, the company that markets Tylenol, is a branch of J&J.) Now the danger is being exposed in lawsuits, and the company is putting out a blame-the-victim line, i.e., it's your fault for not using as directed, or drinking alcohol, or inadvertently taking in combination with other drugs that contain acetaminophen. They are also emphasizing how rare the cases of death by Tylenol are, given how many millions of Americans are popping the pills daily.

"Rare cases" of a drug taken by millions equate to thousands of individual catastrophes. The pharmaceutical manufacturers claim that the benefits their compounds confer on the many far outweigh the damage they cause a few. The "sanctity of the individual" -which we used to hear a lot about when the enemy was Communism- couldn't stand up to cost-benefit analysis. The corporate decision-makers relate to us as customers, not as people. Their ad campaigns are folksy and friendly, as if they're "good neighbors" concerned about our health -but they're really stock owners intent on maximizing their profits. They're willing to endanger our health to sell their products. That's not the way you treat people you respect and love. It's more akin to contempt and hate. And therein may lie the answer to Sitting Bull's question.

<b>Fred Gardner</b> is the editor of O'Shaughnessy's Journal of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group. He can be reached at: fred@plebesite.com

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Single Joint=20 Cigarettes And Huge Lung Cancer Risk

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:29 pm

CityNews wrote:Single Joint=20 Cigarettes And Huge Lung Cancer Risk: Researchers

Wednesday January 30, 2008
CityNews.ca Staff

Everyone knows that smoking isn't good for you - no matter what's in the cigarette. But a new study out of New Zealand shows those who indulge in even the occasional marijuana joint may be elevating their risk for lung cancer in a dangerous way.

Doctors at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand have concluded smoking a single joint is equivalent to inhaling the damaging contents of 20 regular tobacco cigarettes. And they're now worried about what they call a potential "epidemic" of lung cancer patients in current and future generations.

It's not the first time research has made a link between smoking pot and the often fatal disease. But it's the first one to so definitively declare the danger and put it so far above any other kind of smoking.

The scientists found cannabis contains twice the level of carcinogens that regular butts do. And the fact joints don't come with actual filters only magnifies the problem. Pot smokers also tend to hold the smoke in longer to enhance the effect of the drug in their systems and they tend to burn their self-made roll-your-owns right down to the end.

"Cannabis smokers end up with five times more carbon monoxide in their bloodstream (than tobacco smokers)," team leader Richard Beasley relates. "There are higher concentrations of carcinogens in cannabis smoke ... what is intriguing to us is there is so little work done on cannabis when there is so much done on tobacco."

The doctors studied 79 lung cancer patients in an attempt to find out what their greatest risk factors were for getting the ailment. The subjects were asked how much they smoked and drank, what their family histories were, what they did for a living and exactly how much of each substance they consumed.

The results were telling. The cancer rates for those who admitted smoking a single joint a day for a decade or two over a five year period soared - even taking regular cigarette use into account.

Many pot advocates have decried this kind of research in the past, arguing it's simply a scare tactic to discourage their use of the product. But the study authors say they're not trying to convey an anti-drug message so much as a pro-health one.

And in a present where the pressure on the health care system is already intense, many are worried about what it may mean going forward.

"In the near future we may see an 'epidemic' of lung cancers connected with this new carcinogen," warns Beasley. "And the future risk probably applies to many other countries, where increasing use of cannabis among young adults and adolescents is becoming a major public health problem

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Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:42 am

Science Daily wrote:Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows

ScienceDaily (Apr. 17, 2007) — The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.

They say this is the first set of experiments to show that the compound, Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), inhibits EGF-induced growth and migration in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing non-small cell lung cancer cell lines. Lung cancers that over-express EGFR are usually highly aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy.

THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.

"The beauty of this study is that we are showing that a substance of abuse, if used prudently, may offer a new road to therapy against lung cancer," said Anju Preet, Ph.D., a researcher in the Division of Experimental Medicine.

Acting through cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, endocannabinoids (as well as THC) are thought to play a role in variety of biological functions, including pain and anxiety control, and inflammation. Although a medical derivative of THC, known as Marinol, has been approved for use as an appetite stimulant for cancer patients, and a small number of U.S. states allow use of medical marijuana to treat the same side effect, few studies have shown that THC might have anti-tumor activity, Preet says. The only clinical trial testing THC as a treatment against cancer growth was a recently completed British pilot study in human glioblastoma.

In the present study, the researchers first demonstrated that two different lung cancer cell lines as well as patient lung tumor samples express CB1 and CB2, and that non-toxic doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cell lines. "When the cells are pretreated with THC, they have less EGFR stimulated invasion as measured by various in-vitro assays," Preet said.

Then, for three weeks, researchers injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells, and found that tumors were reduced in size and weight by about 50 percent in treated animals compared to a control group. There was also about a 60 percent reduction in cancer lesions on the lungs in these mice as well as a significant reduction in protein markers associated with cancer progression, Preet says.

Although the researchers do not know why THC inhibits tumor growth, they say the substance could be activating molecules that arrest the cell cycle. They speculate that THC may also interfere with angiogenesis and vascularization, which promotes cancer growth.

Preet says much work is needed to clarify the pathway by which THC functions, and cautions that some animal studies have shown that THC can stimulate some cancers. "THC offers some promise, but we have a long way to go before we know what its potential is," she said.
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