Medical Marijuana Cancer Research Arrives in Illinois

1edit_medical_marijuana1By Alexander Cohen, M.D., Ph.D. — Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA)

August 24, 2013 — Chicago, IL – Last week, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta made global headlines, after his pot confessional, and groundbreaking documentary “WEED”. It wasn’t too long before the rest of the country was reading articles and learning about the medical uses of marijuana. Marsha Haworth, a suburban housewife who had lost both of her parents to cancer, was “hitting up all the YouTube channels” in search of answers.

This week, Illinois Cannabis Coalition(ICC) founder Xak Puckett is making his own headlines by leading the first all extensive research of cancer program in Illinois, to go in tandem with Illinois’ medical marijuana pilot program starting January 2014. Puckett believes Illinois is the perfect breeding ground to gather real empirical data on cancer and marijuana because “we have one of the highest rates of cancer in the nation”(Midwest). The $125,000 study is 1 of 8 funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), after the federal government issued a multi-million dollar grant to qualified applicants. Among the competitive field that received grants was UCSF Medical School and Stanford University. Many believe ICC prevailed through the pool of applicants because the coalition was able to provide enough anecdotal evidence and studies backed by Harvard. These studies have shown that marijuana has the ability to shrink and in some cases, kill active cancer cells through the process of apoptosis, via THC, one of the ingredients in marijuana.

Interestingly, medical science has always strongly favored THC hemp oil as a primary cancer therapy, not just in a supportive role to control the side effects of chemotherapy. The International Medical Verities Association has put hemp oil on its cancer protocol. Doctor Sacha Nemcov, president of the California Medical Marijuana Association, says that “the versatility of cannabis hemp oil has long been recognized as one of the most beneficial substances known to man”. “Derived from hemp seeds, it has been regarded as a superfood due to its high essential fatty acid content and the rare ratio of omega3 to omega6 and gamma linolenic acid (GLA) – 2:5:1”. Hemp oil, is known to contain up to 5% of pure GLA, a much higher concentration than any other plant, even higher than spirulina. For thousands of years, the hemp plant has been used in elixirs and medicinal teas because of its healing properties and now medical science is beginning to zero in on the properties of its active substances.

Although thrilled to have been selected among an elite group of applicants, Puckett hopes to secure more funding next year. “In the medical research world, 125k does not go very far. . . we will surely need the help of corporate donors, even big Pharma”.