Activists vs. bureaucrats
Lawsuits part of effort to get state officials to comply with medical marijuana law
Published: October 3, 2012
Evidence of marijuana's medical efficacy is getting stronger and stronger. Recently scientists at California Pacific Medical Center reported that Cannabidiol (CBD), one of marijuana's active ingredients, might stop the spread of aggressive cancers by turning off the ID-1 gene that spreads the disease. Laboratory and animal testing has already produced promising results, and researchers are now waiting for permission to perform human clinical trials.
"It took us about 20 years of research to figure this out, but we are very excited," molecular biologist Pierre Desprez, one of the scientists behind the discovery, told The Huffington Post. "We want to get started with trials as soon as possible."
Researchers warn that the amount of CBD necessary to get their results cannot be achieved by smoking marijuana. Desprez's team has been synthesizing CBD in a laboratory. CBD has also been shown to be helpful in treating seizures, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.
Last year a Harvard University study showed THC, the ingredient in cannabis that produces the high in users, is useful in treating lung cancer. Researchers found that THC activates naturally produced receptors to fight off lung cancer.
On the down side, recent research has shown that chronic marijuana use by youth under age 18 has been tied to lowering their IQ by an average of about five points. While this is sobering news, marijuana legalization advocates are pretty uniform in arguing that the substance be legalized for adults 21 and older.
Another recent study, by researchers at the University of Southern California, found a relationship between smoking marijuana and testicular cancer in young men. Based on the self-reported behavior of 163 testicular cancers victims compared to 292 healthy men, USC researchers found that marijuana smokers were twice as likely to develop virulent strains of testicle cancer. The majority of testicular cancer diagnoses are in men aged 20 to 44. According to the American Cancer Society, if the cancer has not spread, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent.
Ironically, the USC folks found that cocaine use reduced the risk of testicular cancer in marijuana users. Keep it real guys, frosting your nose is not recommended as a way to maintain healthy genitals.
Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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