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The Study On THC and Lung Cancer That Disappeared In The 1970s

Branna Z.

Research on THC and lung cancer should be much further along. Maybe you can thank Richard Nixon for that?

THC and lung cancer have been bitter foe since the beginning of time, but we have only officially known about this since 1975.  Unfortunately, soon after the results passed muster of peer review, it all just poofed away. Not a mention, barely a publication, nary an epic news story. RxLeaf had to dig deep into academic connections to even locate a printed copy of this one.

In the early 70s of last century, Richard Nixon ordered a study on the effects of ‘marijuana’ for human health. Things went pretty much in the opposite direction to what he had hoped to reveal. The human lung cancer cultures exposed to cannabis smoke showed detrimental alterations to their DNA synthesis. This was measured by the appearance of chromatin bridges. These bridges make it more likely that a chromosome will break. Researchers hypothesized that THC was interfering  with some crucial cell biochemical process that was damaging lung cancer cells.

microscopic view of lung cancer cells

Nixon’s Bid To ‘Expose Marijuana’ Fails

This purpose of the study was to determine the relationship of THC to lung cancer, specifically the effects of THC on the Lewis lung cancer cell. A secondary part of the research was to examine the effects of THC on leukemia for mice in vivo. It was originally believed that the results would prove cannabis was a danger to human health.

You should note that the lung cancer study had a big in vitro component. Researchers extracted Lewis lung cancer cells and bone marrow cells. Cannabinoids were then alcohol extracted from the plant and conjugated to the albumin to interact with cancer cells.  Today, more sensitive techniques have been developed, that are both practical and more effective.

A second caveat before we celebrate the findings is that in vitro studies don’t always show the same results in vivo. This is because in the living organism, other cell processes are happening at the same time that affect the treated cells and the surrounding tissue. This can make the treatment more, or more frequently, less effective.

The Results Show That THC Shrinks Lung Cancer Tumor Cells

Different doses of THC were administered to determine if the tumor was shrinking or at least stalling. The tumor decreased in size and weight with the application of THC and CBN (cannabinol). This was accomplished by inhibiting Lewis lung cancer cell growth. Interestingly, this group found CBD to have the opposite effect. Modern results would disagree.

Oral administration of THC was as follows: 25, 50 and 100mg/kg of the THC inhibited primary tumor. This translates to: 48, 72 and 75%, respectively, according to the study. Nowadays, research points out that cannabinoids help treat cancer-related side effects, typically prescribed through cannabinoid pharmaceuticals: nabilone and dronabinol.

Conclusion: THC Damages Cell Function in Cancer Cells

The group concluded inhibition of the tumor growth and increased survival of the animals after the THC treatment. This may be due to the ability of the drug to inhibit nucleic acid synthesis. These results supported emerging evidence that THC modifies cell responses.

Researchers found that cannabinoids readily cross the blood-brain barrier and don’t have the toxic characteristics of other cytotoxic agents that were used at the time. This should have made THC an attractive medicine for further research.

xray showing lung cancer tumor

It is frankly shocking that the evidence was emerging in the 70s about the positive effect of the cannabis treatment on cancer and it was not utilized until recently. This may be due to some external factors not really related to science and technology, if you understand what I mean.

Branislava Zagorac
  • Avatar
    Kimberly Allen

    The government sucks We new this for years and it sucks that something all natural can an will cure so many diseases. Just make it legal. God but it here for a reason.

    March 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm Reply
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      I concur

      March 18, 2019 at 1:29 am Reply
    • Avatar

      To much money in jailing thc users.
      Forget cancer benefits, too much money for hospitals & drug companies to lose if thc is legalized.

      June 27, 2019 at 2:08 pm Reply
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    My husband has a diseased musell around his heart a needs a transplant ,he’s taking tablets but doesn’t want a transplant ,could this help him at all and I am all for this mecdine to legal

    March 16, 2019 at 4:44 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grant

      Sorry to hear about your husband’s health problems. If the doctor recommends a transplant, I hope your husband considers this. Cannabis is not able to replace a transplant, unfortunately.

      March 18, 2019 at 8:59 am Reply
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      John marano

      Try a product called asea it works and is natural and native to your body it the company have won 5 Nobel peace Prizes in science for their discovery

      August 13, 2019 at 9:37 am Reply
    • Avatar
      Thom charles

      Yes ingesting cannabis oil repairs internal organs. Find Rick simpson and take his oil.(rso)

      March 25, 2020 at 8:43 pm Reply
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    David H

    It worked wonders on my dog, the vet said he had five weeks left maybe,. He was started on the drug and he lived for more than another year. And I aware of people who it has helped very much.

    March 16, 2019 at 5:44 pm Reply
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      David H

      O by the way one dog I know very well had nearly got to the point where she could not walk, it took some time, but she walks now and even try’s to run, but not very well. And we have two other dogs on it now because of a skin irritation, and bladder problems, and me, I take also. I am great believer in it, as I have seen what it can do for me and mine.

      David H

      March 16, 2019 at 5:51 pm Reply
      • Jennifer Grant


        March 18, 2019 at 8:56 am Reply
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      donna wynn

      My dog has prostate cancer after giving him cannabis paste he lived almost 5 more years..

      June 26, 2019 at 1:25 pm Reply
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    Hi you have access to the full article of not seeing it, only the Lewis lung cell story.
    I hope you find the below interesting and the explanations paradigm breaking.

    Dr. Robert Melamede
    Associate Professor and Biology Chairman UCCS (Retired),
    CEO and President Cannabis Science (Retired),
    Program Director Phoenix Tears, (Denver CO)
    Executive Director Masada (Kingston, Jamaica))
    Science Advisor, Spannabis (Columbia SA)
    Science Advisor Phoenix Tears (Thailand)

    719 641-1188
    16 Lake Forrest Drive
    Burlington VT 05401

    Monograph Physics of Life

    Animation Metabolic Plasticity

    Metabolism stem-cells&cancer

    Energy Flow Balancing Differentiation and Damage with Repair and Recycling

    Energy flow transforms metabolic dissipative structures into epigenetics and then genetics

    Multiple Metabolic States and Cancer
    Attractors in Life

    Evolution and the Endocannabinoid System

    The CB1 Receptor and the Evolution of Humanity, Past, Present and Future

    Cannabis Health Radio

    March 16, 2019 at 8:33 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grant

      Thank you Dr. Bob! Appreciate the links and will definitely look into all. I will email you a pdf of the original article.

      March 18, 2019 at 8:53 am Reply
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    Becky Laws

    And yet I lost a friend of 53 years old to lung cancer – all he ever smoked was marijuana………

    March 24, 2019 at 1:20 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grant

      I’m sorry for your loss, Becky. 🙁 Smoking has the lowest bioavailability. Sublingual and suppositories are the best way to get cannabinoids. And, unfortunately, cannabis is not a miracle medicine. Nothing is. Wish your friend was still here.

      March 24, 2019 at 4:12 pm Reply
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      Chtis reid

      Was is straight or mixed with tobacco and was it organic cannabis or grown with chemicals? And I want evidence if it was organic and straight.

      April 7, 2019 at 7:22 pm Reply
      • Jennifer Grant

        There is no mention of tobacco in the study. You’d have to check with the researchers to find out the source for their cannabis. Or poke around the Internet to determine what the cannabis source was for NIH studies in the 70s.

        April 8, 2019 at 10:43 am Reply
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    Russell Redden

    This study was published after nixon left office. A subsequent study was performed.
    It was reagan that made these studies classified, unclassified through the freedom of information act in 1990.

    April 9, 2019 at 12:23 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grant

      Yes, you are correct that it was published after Nixon left office: J Natl Cancer Inst. 1975 Sep;55(3):597-602. Completed 1974. A small story was run in the Washington Post on Aug 18, 1974 that reported the results: THC slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers, and virus-induced leukemia laboratory mice.” NIH ordered the study and approved by Nixon. I’m not sure what the connection is with Reagan. Nor am I confident it was ever classified. I don’t believe it was. I’ll have to fact check. Further research was not ordered and THAT is where the crime because it all just disappeared.

      April 9, 2019 at 2:38 pm Reply
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    James Tripp

    Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids
    A. E. Munson L. S. Harris M. A. Friedman W. L. Dewey R. A. Carchman
    JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 55, Issue 3, 1 September 1975

    Cannabinoids kill cancer cells via apoptosis and antiangiogenesis. Know since 1974.
    Lewis lung adenocarcrnoma growth was retarded by the oral administration of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), Δ8tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC), and cannabinol (CBN)
    This is from a study released via the FOIA in the US and was commissioned by the FBN (Federal Bureau of Narcotics, predecessor to the DEA) conducted by the university of West Virginia to determine that cannabis supresses the immune system but instead they accidentally found these results due to the fact they use rats from cancer studies based on the assumption that Cannabis would accelerate the cancer due to immune suppression.

    They did not obtain the results they hoped for, so the study results were destroyed, and Cannabis was made a Schedule 1 drug with no medicinal value. The only reason this is known today is that the study was registered and published and subject to FOIA.

    April 10, 2019 at 3:14 pm Reply
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    Skip Budman

    People have died from “their” lies and still are (government & medical complex). I do not understand why this is not a crime. People also die from “their” chemo therapy” – Their number one therapy for cancer and it is statistically a human killer. The truth truly hurts those who are now dead, dying or incarcerated due to the constant lies to put profits before healthcare and make criminals out of the sick. Civilians have believed in and believed their medical doctors for their entire lives. They were not and are not worthy! They could have helped remove cannabis from the schedule anytime they wished. Simply put, the medical complex did not want to compete with a natural healer where they could take no profits. They knew that removing cannabinoids from the human diet for these past 80+ years would make humans sick easier and their need for medical assistance greater than it ever needed to be. Healthy humans are NOT profitable, their bottom line – And they are still lying today. The greatest CON ever pulled on the World (not just the American people). Shame on us for believing “them”.

    May 12, 2019 at 11:51 am Reply
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    Jake Dove

    I lost both of my parents to cancer
    There should be some sort of class action that can still be taken – knowingly depriving a patient of a govt proven combatent of cancer is at least homicide – therefore under no statute of limitations

    June 26, 2019 at 2:22 pm Reply
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    Jacky Mansfield

    I have just been told I have a 1 cm tumour on my lungs ,,what would any one recommend ,,,the doctors have offered me radiation as I can’t be operated on as my lungs are in bad condition thank you

    September 29, 2019 at 6:52 pm Reply

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