Mesothelioma is a deadly disease. Many deaths occur within a few years or less after diagnosis, so people are always on the lookout for treatment options that can not only help prolong survival rates, but also help treat the rough side effects that come along with the illness. Cannabis has been shown to help treat a number of illnesses, including cancer. As more and more people turn to alternative forms of treatment, survival rates are increasing. So, what is standing in the way of making cannabis legally available nationwide?
Studies on Cannabis and Cancer
According to a study published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), several scientists discovered numerous benefits concerning cannabinoids and cancer, including:
- Triggering the death of cancerous cells
- The prevention of blood vessels growing into tumors
- Blocking cells from dividing
- Blocking cells from moving to other tissues, which hinders the chances of cancerous cells moving throughout the body
- Accelerating cell waste disposal, which helps lead to cancerous cell death
In additional research published by NIH, scientists gave high doses of THC to laboratory mice. The results indicated that the THC in cannabis, the part of the plant that’s known to produce a “high,” helped reduce the spreading and growth of tumors cancerous tumors. It was also shown to provide palliative care, meaning it helped reduced the painful symptoms that often come along with cancer.
What Stands in the Way: Money
Even with positive preliminary studies regarding cannabis and cancer, much more research is needed. Yet, federal funding to help with the costs of medical research has decreased. For instance, in 2012, the NIH spent $91 million on all types of medical research. Yet in 2009, NIH spent $131 million. It’s currently difficult enough to get enough money to fund studies, but even harder to get funding for marijuana studies, since it’s still not legal in all states.
What Stands in the Way: Drug Enforcement Administration
As mentioned earlier, marijuana isn’t legal in all states, and that makes it difficult for additional studies to continue. For example, San Francisco Weekly reports that Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of oncology at San Francisco General Hospital, has turned away people who asked him to perform studies on various mixtures of cannabis oil. According to Abrams,
“I can’t. It’s not legal.”
In order to conduct the studies, scientist must get the materials from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. For years, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts has attempted in vain to get the Drug Enforcement Administration to approve a crop he was growing himself, which could help studies proceed. He’s been denied each time.
What Stand in the Way: The Medical Community
Despite previous studies showing its benefits and numerous accounts from people who’ve show positive benefits from cannabis, there is still nothing in medical textbooks about its benefits. According to scientific researcher Dr. Mark Ware, of the McGill University medical school based, if and when marijuana is shown in medical textbooks, it’s seen as an illegal substance that’s detrimental to health.
“It’d be naive to say there’s no stigma [in medicine around marijuana]. If marijuana is mentioned at all [in school], it’s as a drug of abuse.”
What You Can in the Meantime
Many states are now allowing cannabis for medical purposes. If you’re interested in learning more about how it may be able to help or a loved one with mesothelioma, speak with your physician. Keep in mind that if you’re in a state which doesn’t allow cannabis for medical use, it is still illegal to be in possession of it, and you can face jail time and/or fines. The following states currently allow medical marijuana use (each state has its own laws that determine the amount you can legally have):
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
Additional Help and Resources for Mesothelioma Patients
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.