Devastatingly, millions of people are diagnosed with cancer every year. To be more specific, approximately 1,700,000 Americans were diagnosed with cancer 2017. (1) In continuous efforts to find cure and treatment for cancer, cannabinoids are frequently mentioned in the medical world as substances that can kill cancer cells. One man in particular claims that his use of cannabis helped shrink his brain tumor.
Man Uses Cannabis to “Treat” Brain Tumor
Phil James, 32, from Oakenholt Flint, UK testifies that using cannabis through a vaporizer significantly shrunk his brain tumor. According to James, he has not experienced a seizure in almost a year since he started using cannabis when in the past, he would suffer from their occurrence every six to eight weeks.
James is an advocate of legalizing medical marijuana based on his own survival story and how his use of it surpassed the lifetime that he was given by doctors. He said, “I was told I had two years to live. I was told there was nothing that could be done.”
More than two years after his diagnosis of grade three Anaplastic Astrocytoma (a brain tumor) and six clear brain scans later with only a minimal trace of his tumor, James said, “I am able to work as a freelance 3D artist for science education and I pay my taxes. I’ve even been able to get my driving license back.”
James attributes his “recovery” to his use of Cannabidiol (CBD) Indica. He exclaims, “I would rather be illegally alive than legally dead. I do put it down to diet and taking CBD.”
The Research that Urged James to Use CBD Indica
What convinced James to use CBD Indica is a research paper at St. George’s, University of London by Katherine Scott, Angus Dalgleish, and Wai Liu on the anti-cancer effects of CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on glioma (brain cancer).
Within this research paper entitled, “The Combination of CBD and THC Enhances the Anticancer Effects of Radiation in an Orthotropic Murine Glioma Model,” cannabinoids in pure form and as botanic drug use (BDS) were tested both alone and in combination with radiotherapy in a number of glioma cell lines. Results showed a duration and dose-dependent reduction in cell viability. (2)
The data in this particular study concluded that cannabinoids can possibly help glioma cells to respond better to ionizing radiation. (3)
One of the researchers, Dr. Wai Liu presented this finding at a ‘spotlight on science’ event at the university. The writer of Make William Well blog who happens to be the father of a child (William) with a rare form of brain tumor called Ependymoma was one of the attendees and he gives a quick breakdown of the presentation regarding cannabis in relation to cancer.
Dr. Liu’s Explanation on Cannabis and Cancer
Dr. Liu shared briefly about cancer occurring as a result of uncontrolled growth of cells and the mechanisms that signal that growth. More specifically, these signals pass through a series of proteins that can mutate and cause cancer.
Now the role of cannabis, which is made up of two ‘phytocannabinoids’ that we mentioned above under the acronyms CBD and THC have been proven in the laboratory to alter these signal pathways that affect the growth of cancer cells.
However, different cancers are caused by the mutation of different proteins, so the effects of THC and CBD depend on the type of cancer it’s being used. According to Dr. Liu and the rest of his team’s research, cancers of the blood and brain appear to be specifically susceptible.
James’ Personal Experience In Relation to The Research
This cumulative research is what urged cannabis user James to “treat” his brain tumor and while we celebrate with him in his victory, keep in mind that there is no direct evidence of his use of CBD Indica healing him of brain cancer.
The specific research that he referenced, which tackled the subject of cannabis in relation to glioma is only one study and it does not definitely prove to be the answer to cancer. Furthermore, this research showed the effects of cannabis in addition to radiation therapy.
James’ story lacks detail such that it is unknown whether he received standard treatment before vaping CBD Indica.
- This is anecdotal evidence even if promising. It’s only one case study.
- There is evidence that CBD and THC have anti-cancer properties, particularly with brain cancer
- The study uses CBD and THC as adjunctive therapy (in addition to radiation)
- It’s unclear if Phil Jame received standard treatment before he began vaping CBD
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