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Does Cannabis Kill Cancer Cells?

08/26/2015 9:00 am EST


Michael Berger

President & Founder,

The medical benefits of marijuana—such as those reported in the recent findings from the National Cancer Institute (NCI)—can no longer be ignored, says Michael Berger, of, who highlights a company that is focused on developing cannabinoid-based medicines that treat a variety of illnesses, including cancer pain.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) updated its Web site to include various studies revealing how cannabis may inhibit tumor growth by killing cells, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels that tumors need to grow.

NCI also said that cannabis does this while protecting healthy cells. The institute released the following statement after updating its Web site:

“A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells showed that it caused cancer cell death while having little effect on normal breast cells. Studies in mouse models of metastatic breast cancer showed that cannabinoids may lessen the growth, number, and spread of tumors.”

NIDA Says Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells

This development comes a few months after the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) said that cannabis can kill certain cancer cells. NIDA revised their April 2015 publication to say the following:

“Recent animal studies have shown that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors. Research in mice showed that these extracts, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.”

The Only Pure-play Biotech Cannabis Company on the Nasdaq

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) is the only pure-play cannabis related company that trades on the Nasdaq exchange. GWPH is focused on developing cannabinoid-based medicines that treat a variety of illnesses, including cancer pain. The company expects to release data from Phase 3 cancer pain studies for Sativex during the second half of 2015.

GWPH has a number of catalysts during 2016. In the first quarter of 2016, GWPH will announce the results from the first Phase 3 trial for Epidiolex in Dravet's Syndrome, a second Phase 3 trial in Dravet's Syndrome, and two phase 3 trials in Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS).

GWPH also expects to announce data readouts for a number of indications during 2016. These indications include schizophrenia, glioblastoma, and diabetes. While the breadth of GWPH’s pipeline is encouraging; investors remain focused in the near term on Dravet’s and LGS for Epidiolex.

The Benefits of Marijuana Can No Longer Be Ignored

Currently, 40 states have passed laws that allow for the use of some form of medical marijuana. Even though marijuana clearly has medical benefits, it remains a Schedule I substance alongside heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and bath salts under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

The benefits of marijuana can no longer be ignored. The recent findings, NIDA’s admission, company developments, and the opinion of Dr. Sanjay Gupta and of the United States Surgeon General should be enough to reschedule marijuana and promote research into it.

Michael Berger, Founder and President,

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