11 Jun Professor Lester Grinspoon On Exaggerated Claims About Cannabis And Cancer.

Cannabis is a wonderful thing.

There is overwhelming evidence of its efficacy in treating a wide range of medical conditions and, very importantly, of its safety and lack of significant side effects.

There is also some very exciting animal and in vitro research work on cannabinoids as treatment for cancer. In fact, there’s some very convincing medical evidence of the successful use of cannabis oil on skin cancer and some extraordinary anecdotal evidence about its use for cancer and other life threatening conditions – Rick Simpson, Phoenix Tears, the stories are all over the internet. There is hard evidence that it offers some protection against the cancer causing effects of tobacco.

But the claim that “cannabis cures cancer” is just not true. There is no scientific evidence that supports it and when we make such wild and exaggerated claims we cause as much damage to the cause as the opposite extreme of “reefer madness”.

Over the weekend, probably the most eminent advocate of cannabis as medicine, Professor Lester Grinspoon, laid out the facts. I know this will be disappointing to many but it is the truth that counts and we will do better if we resist the urge to overstate our case. Professor Grinspoon said:

“There is little doubt that cannabis now may play some non-curative roles in the treatment of this disease (or diseases) because it is often useful to cancer patients who suffer from nausea, anorexia, depression, anxiety, pain, and insomnia.

However, while there is growing evidence from animal studies that it may shrink tumor cells and cause other promising salutary effects in some cancers, there is no present evidence that it cures any of the many different types of cancer.

‘I think the day will come when it or some cannabinoid derivatives will be demonstrated to have cancer curative powers, but in the meantime, we must be very cautious about what we promise these patients.”