Cancer has affected most of us in some way. This can mean standing helplessly on the sidelines unable to ease the suffering of a loved one or receiving a life-changing diagnosis.
For thousands of years, cannabis has been used throughout the world to treat a variety of medical conditions. Most recently, nothing has caused more controversy than the claims that cannabis can cure cancer—even as preliminary research points toward the potential for cannabis to kill cancer cells. In addition, anecdotal evidence from patients taking cannabis to successfully inhibit or stop the spread of cancer continues to grow.
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But what’s the truth about cannabis and cancer? We reviewed the latest research and spoke to Tim Blake, founder of the prestigious cannabis competition, the Emerald Cup. Tim credits whole-plant cannabis oil in helping his body maintain the right environment to fight his bouts of aggressive cancer.
Research Suggests Cannabinoids Have Anti-Tumor Effects
Multiple studies are confirming what many cancer patients say: that certain cannabinoids present in marijuana provide an anti-tumor effect. Following lab studies that showed brain cancer cells died when exposed to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), human trials confirmed these lab study results.
When patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, consumed pure THC, the number of cancer cells decreased in every patient participating in the study.
Not every type of cancer responds to cannabis in the same way. And researchers are just beginning to study the hundreds of cannabinoids that may hold promise in combating different forms of cancer.
For example, a study funded by the National Institute of Health found that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits the growth of cells responsible for breast cancer tumors and even limits the spread of cancerous breast tumors.
U.S. Cannabis Cancer Research Still Lags Behind Other Countries
As long as marijuana is a federally illegal, Schedule 1 drug, U.S. researchers will be unable to conduct full-scale research on cannabis and its effect on cancer.
But in other countries, researchers are discovering new potentials for cannabis-based cancer treatments. Canadian and Israeli scientists are investigating the use of nanoparticles containing cannabinoids to treat cancerous tumors, so far in animal models only.
Plus, an Israeli researcher is studying 50 cannabis strains and the effect these marijuana strains may have on 200 types of cancer cells.
Compare this to the U.S. where in 2018 there was just a single cannabis farm authorized to conduct the type of research needed to fully investigate the uses for cannabis in fighting cancer.
With election season on the horizon, cannabis-supportive voters should ask their candidates how they intend to push for more research on medical marijuana. From what researchers have already found, cannabis has the potential to not only ease suffering and improve quality of life, but also to possibly reduce the numbers of the one million people diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. every year.
One Cancer Survivor’s Journey With Cannabis
Tim Blake is the founder of the legendary Emerald Cup, the annual cannabis competition, which attracts 25,000 visitors. Tim has been growing, promoting and consuming medical cannabis for over 40 years.
Though Tim has been interviewed countless times about the development of one of the most well-known cannabis competitions in the world, most folks don’t know he’s been living with aggressive melanoma for decades. A robust cannabis regime helps bolster his immune system, which in turn helps keep his cancer at bay.
“My personal health history has been quite a journey,” says Tim, who’s in remission from two recent, serious rounds of cancer.
For someone who’s on the road as a featured speaker at cannabis events throughout the world, while building several companies and continuing to expand the reach of the Emerald Cup, it’s hard to imagine Tim ever slowing down.
“I must admit I’m not so good at taking the advice of my doctors, who insist I have a stress-free life,” Tim says with a laugh.
Tim treated his most recent cancer bout in part using Simpson Oil, a highly refined, extremely psychoactive cannabis formulation invented by Rick Simpson, who created his own formula to treat a relative’s cancer.
Rick has been cast as both saint and sinner by the media, the medical community and cannabis advocates. But for Tim, Simpson Oil bought him the time his body needed to create better conditions for healing.
“This last round of cancer laid open an 18-inch gash on my leg. It just shredded me open. I was using black salve and Simpson Oil daily,” he says.
Boosting the Immune System to Help Fight Cancer
Tim’s last resurgence of cancer was serious enough that it prompted him to build a support team. He enlisted the aid of Dr. Gerald Cohen, who operates the Center for the Healing Process in Menlo Park, CA.
“One of the things I discovered with Dr. Cohen was that I had three types of mold in my body: black mold, aspergillus and candida. I felt suicidal. My memory was shot. I had no sex drive. I had such severe vertigo that I had no equilibrium. After a battery of tests, I was told I had six months to live. I was in so much pain, I didn’t think I could do this anymore,” Tim says.
A former physician to the Dalai Lama, Dr. Cohen put Tim on a regimen of herbs and made adjustments to his diet to create a less favorable environment for the cancer to spread.
“I ate organic—chicken, Swiss chard, a few other greens and not too much else. Even more importantly, I quit all refined oils, gluten and sugars. Back in the day, no one knew cancer really kicks up when people eat a traditional American diet,” explains Tim.
Adding Cannabis to Cancer Therapy
Tim’s proximity to the movers and shakers in the cannabis industry enables him to meet growers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs who are dedicated to improving the quality and efficacy of cannabis medicine. During his last bout with cancer, he met Harry Rose, creator of the cannabis brand Rosette Wellness.
“I met Harry after his products won awards at the Emerald Cup,” Tim says. “I feel confident in saying that he is the best manufacturer of cannabis tinctures in the world.”
When Tim connected with Harry, he went all in, adding Rosette tinctures to his daily regime.
“Harry uses an amazing whole-plant extraction process. He’s following all the Israeli research protocols, and the farms he works with in Humboldt County, every gram they produce comes out exactly the same,” explains Tim. “Harry knows every genetic component of every cannabinoid, and he came to cannabis because of his own battles with a life-and-death autoimmune disorder 25 years ago.”
Tim feels the addition of Harry’s tinctures increased the entourage effect that enabled his body to bring all of its healing resources to the fore.
Taking Cannabis to Boost Wellness
“I’m currently taking Harry’s Balance Blend, which is a combination of CBDA, THCA, CBD and THC,” says Tim. “I believe that like many illnesses, cancer grows when there is inflammation in the body, so this blend, along with an anti-inflammatory diet helps to create internal balance. I’m a big proponent of THCA and CBDA.”
Tim notes that it takes a substantial amount of cannabis to treat an aggressive illness. “It’s not unusual for patients to take 500 mg of a cannabis extract daily. Harry is working to create 900 mg bottles, to help bring down the cost for patients.”
Tim believes that whole-plant extracts containing full-spectrum cannabis oils are far better for addressing health concerns. “People use watered-down versions of CBD that you find in the drugstores and wonder why it doesn’t work. They don’t work because they are a gimmick,” he explains. “I believe it takes cannabinoid balance, rather than a single-source cannabinoid to be really effective in the treatment of disease.”
Living With Cancer & Sticking With a Regular Cannabis Regimen
Tim knows he’ll never be cured of cancer. “It’s always there, so it’s up to me to create an internal environment that isn’t conducive to its spread,” he says.
But after about a year of staying on Dr. Cohen’s regime and continuing with Rosette tinctures, the aspergillus and black mold has disappeared from his system. The cancerous wound on his leg is closed, and his overall health remains dramatically improved.
When he’s not helping produce the Emerald Cup or speaking before lawmakers on behalf of beleaguered cannabis farmers, Tim writes and tries to help as many cancer warriors as he can.
He’s made remarkable inroads encouraging cannabis consumption with his family, too, which includes retired law enforcement officers and Catholic priests—all of whom now take cannabis to help with a variety of conditions, including cancer.
“I have a relative who was a police captain in the Santa Cruz area. He used cannabis to get through chemo. He said he couldn’t have gone through the ordeal without it, and after fighting it all his life, he now calls cannabis a miracle,” Tim says.
On any given day, Tim, who’s 62, consults with 20 to 30 medical patients asking for help. “Even now, in a legal state like California, it’s extremely difficult to find reliable information about medical cannabis, especially for free,” he says. “Very few people are willing to help out.”
Because of the enormous success he found working with Dr. Cohen and Rosette products, Tim feels confident in referring patients to them. He knows that the cost for such consultations may be out of reach for many people and has one simple recommendation:
“If people could start out taking 30 mg of THCA per day, along with addressing dietary and immune system issues, I think just about everyone would notice significant benefits to their overall health.”
He adds, “My goal has remained unchanged from the time I first discovered cannabis—to make it cost-effective, and turn this community and planet into a thriving society.”
Photo credit: ElRoi/Shutterstock.com
If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. And if you have questions about cannabis, ask them and our community will answer.