In November 2013, an article titled “Cannabis Extract Treatment for Terminal Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with a Philadelphia Chromosome Mutation” was published in the journal Case Reports in Oncology. The study examined a 14-year old female patient who underwent 34 months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, which failed to positively affect her especially severe form of leukemia. After the failure of traditional treatments, the patient was placed in palliative home care.
With no other options, the patient’s family learned that extracts from cannabis may offer hope. Dozens of scientific studies indicate mechanisms by which cannabinoids kill cancer cells. Moreover, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests these effects extend to humans. With this knowledge, the family began treatment with cannabis oil. Cancer levels were measured by the leukemic blast cell count in the patient’s blood.
For two weeks prior to treatment, the blast count had steadily increased and continued increasing a few days into cannabis treatment. After Day 5, the count began to fall dramatically, decreasing from a peak of 374,000 to 300 in 39 days. Unfortunately, the patient in this case still passed away, although the study determined this was from the side effects of prior chemotherapy rather than the cancer itself.
The article concluded, “It must be noted that where our most advanced chemotherapeutic agents had failed to control the blast counts and had devastating side effects that ultimately resulted in the death of the patient, the cannabinoid therapy had no toxic side effects and only psychosomatic properties, with an increase in the patient’s vitality.” Spontaneous remission and chemotherapy were scientifically ruled out as potential causes of the massive decrease in blast cell count, because a dose-response curve was established between cannabis oil and cell count and toxicology reports registered no chemotherapeutic agents in the blood.
The above report follows a prior study first published in February 2011 in Child’s Nervous System, the official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery, entitled “Spontaneous regression of septum pellucidum/forniceal pilocytic astrocytomas–possible role of Cannabis inhalation” in which cannabis inhalation was associated with spontaneous brain tumor regression in two adolescent subjects based on MRI findings.
Specifically, authors noted the mitigation of residual tumors of pilocytic astrocytoma in two subjects who regularly inhaled cannabis. Authors determined that both subjects experienced a “clear regression” of their residual brain tumors over a three-year-period during which time “neither patient received any conventional adjuvant treatment…[and] the tumors regressed over the same period of time that cannabis was consumed via inhalation, raising the possibility that cannabis played a role in tumor regression.”
These cases and analyses indicated that anti-cancer and anti-tumoral effects suggested in pre-clinical studies may well extend to human patients. Many studies have shown tetrahydrocannabinol, a primary phytocannabinoid in cannabis, inhibits cancer in a number of ways. It selectively induces apoptosis, programmed cell death, in a number of cancers, including:
Other phytocannabinoids like cannabidiol have been shown to kill multiple types of cancer cells as well, and research suggests the anti-cancer properties of cannabinoids are strongest when used together. For example, a recent study in Anticancer Research found that six cannabinoids – cannabidiol, cannabigerol, cannabigevarin, and their respective acid forms, inhibited leukemia cells independently. However, the anti-leukemic effect was stronger when the cannabinoids were combined, indicating a synergistic effect.
Many terminal cancer patients have turned to cannabis extract therapy as a last resort to save their own lives, and per anecdotal reports shared with the media, have gone into complete remission. In many cases, patients have provided objective evidence of disease mitigation.
Hundreds of additional cases have demonstrated similar results, in both non-terminal and terminal situations.
The study’s author, Yadvinder Singh, has called for the implementation of clinical trials to explore this critical issue. Over the last five years, thousands of people have used cannabis extracts to treat cancer and other debilitating diseases. Even many terminal cancer patients have gone into remission with cannabis extract therapy.
Corrie Yelland was diagnosed with terminal anal canal cancer and given six months to live yet went into remission with cannabis extracts.
Joanne Crowther had intravascular diffuse B-cell lymphoma that chemotherapy failed to treat, and after being put on palliative care by her doctors, went into remission after using cannabis oil.
Dr. Stan Rutner overcame terminal lung cancer which metastasized to his brain.
A California doctor named Dr. William Courtney provided documented evidence of elimination of an infant’s large centrally located inoperable brain tumor in December 2012.
Alysa Erwin was diagnosed with Grade III astrocytoma, an especially severe form of brain cancer that even with aggressive treatment is normally unstoppable, at just 14 years old. Alysa’s family was told that with chemotherapy, she could live a maximum of two years. Instead, she primarily used cannabis oil, with small amounts of chemotherapy and radiation at two points in her two-year treatment.
By January 2013, she was cancer free. Alysa is quoted in a December 17th, 2013 MetroTimes article as saying, “I’m trying to spread the word around what this medicine can do; what it can help. The last time I spoke, it was trying to fight for the oil. I’m trying to help people out to get a second chance like I got. I know my family was really scared. I was too. Once I found out about this oil it just gave me hope. That’s what gave me hope for this cancer being gone. I like to let other families know that so they can have that kind of hope.”
Many other children have had success with cannabis extract therapy. Cash Hyde was on the verge of death from cancer and chemotherapy treatments, and then completely turned around after being administered cannabis oil by his father Mike. He beat cancer twice but unfortunately passed after his third bout, during which he did not have access to oil. Thankfully, other parents have used Cash’s story as a guide in treating their own children.
Erin Purchase and Brandon Krenzler treat their daughter Mykayla for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is currently in remission. It was not until cannabis was introduced that Mykayla’s cancer began to regress.
Silas Tedesco was suffering immensely from Precursor B acute lymphoblastic leukemia and experienced a complete turnaround after his doctor recommended high-CBD cannabis oil. Landon Riddle, a child leukemia patient whose case was profiled by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also experienced a quick turnaround with high-CBD oil despite a terrible prognosis. As has been demonstrated, even in the worst cases of cancer, cannabis extracts have shown effectiveness.
For decades, scientific studies have been continuously revealing the mechanisms by which cannabinoids kill cancer cells. Dr. Sean McAllister from the California Pacific Medical Center has demonstrated how cannabidiol inhibits breast cancer by working at the genetic level. Dr. Manuel Guzmán in Spain has explored how cannabinoids kill brain cancer, skin cancer, and pancreatic cancer. A study from Harvard in 2007 showed THC cut lung tumor growth in half and reduced macroscopic lesions by more than half.
Many studies indicate cannabinoids are effective against leukemia, including an October 2013 study showing that six non-psychoactive cannabinoids all inhibit leukemia, most effectively when used together. Other studies have pointed to synergistic effects among cannabinoids, demonstrating the importance of using whole plant oils when treating disease.
The effects of cannabis medicine extend beyond cancer. In Colorado, hundreds of families with pediatric epilepsy patients and no other options are resorting to non-psychoactive high-CBD cannabis oil. Dr. Margaret Gedde, a Colorado Springs physician, is tracking several patients of such families. A document she prepared for the American Epilepsy Society’s 67th meeting reports that 8 of 11 studied patients experienced a 98-100% reduction in seizure levels, most within the first month of treatment.
These successes are occurring in highly refractory epileptic conditions which have not responded to any traditional pharmaceuticals, making such achievements far more profound.
Given the enormous magnitude of the scientific research and experiential evidence, this issue must be immediately examined by major world authorities. Cannabis extracts are safe and nontoxic, and there is no risk in running a small clinical trial with 100 terminal cancer patients. Providing them with high-quality extracts and documenting the results will determine the truth once and for all.
Justin Kander is an advocate for the use of cannabis extract medicine to treat cancer. He previously interned with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, one of the nation’s leading drug policy reform organizations.
In 2013, Justin completed the Comprehensive Report on the Cannabis Extract Movement, a 100-page report that examines and analyzes the mounting evidence in support of cannabis extracts as medicine. He presented his findings at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver the same year.