Spanish researcher Manuel Guzman has done a whole series of studies since 1999 demonstrating the efficacy of cannabinoids to fight cancer.
Dr. Manuel Guzman of Complutense University in Madrid, lead author of the only human study yet published of a cannabinoid as cancer treatment, puts it slightly more diplomatically.
The lack of immediate followup to those early reports "remains a mystery to me," he
cites a number of obstacles to human trials, including the fact that cannabinoids are "still seen by many doctors and regulatory agencies as drugs of abuse," as well as "lots of paperwork" and a lack of commercial interest in natural compounds that can't be patented.
In an October 2003 review in the journal Nature Reviews: Cancer, Guzman detailed the extensive body of test-tube and animal research showing that cannabinoids inhibit tumors of the lung, uterus, skin, breast, prostate and brain (including gliomas, the type of tumor that killed Sen.
The one human study of a cannabinoid cancer treatment published thus far was conducted by Dr. Guzman
and colleagues and published online in June 2006 by the British Journal of Cancer
and colleagues noted that THC may not be the best cannabinoid to use as a cancer treatment, as others have been shown more potent in lab tests.
And while the direct infusion technique delivered a high THC concentration to specific locations, it may not have reached all parts of these large tumors.
Still, the results were positive enough that the researchers urged further tests, including studies of cannabinoids in combination with other cancer drugs.
is hoping to do more studies, but notes that with all the bureaucratic, procedural and financial hurdles, "The way ahead is long and winding."