22. U.S. Government Repressed Marijuana-Tumor Research

In 1974 researchers learned that THC, the active chemical in marijuana, shrank or destroyed brain tumors in test mice. But the DEA quickly shut down the study and destroyed its results, which were never replicated — until now.

A Spanish medical team’s study released in Madrid in February 2000 has shown that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana, destroys tumors in lab rats. These findings, however, are not news to the U.S. government. A study in Virginia in 1974 yielded similar results but was suppressed by the DEA, and in 1983 the Reagan/Bush administration tried to persuade U.S. universities and researchers to destroy all cannabis research work done between 1966 and 1976, including compendiums in libraries.

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The research was conducted by a medical team led by Dr. Manuel Guzman of Complutence University in Madrid. In the study, brains of 45 lab rats were injected with a cancer cell, which produced tumors. On the twelfth day of the experiment, 15 of the rats were injected with THC and 15 with Win-55, 212-2, a synthetic compound similar to THC. The untreated rats died 12-18 days after the development of the tumors. THC treated rats lived significantly longer than the control group. Although three were unaffected by the THC, nine lived 19-35 days, while tumors were completely eradicated in three others. The rats treated with Win-55,212-2 showed similar results.

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In an e-mail interview for this story, the Madrid researcher said he had heard of the Virginia study, but had never been able to locate literature on it. “I am aware of the existence of that research. In fact I have attempted many times to obtain the journal article on the original investigation by theses people, but it has proven impossible,” Guzman said. His response wasn’t surprising, considering that in 1983 the Reagan/Bush administration tried to persuade American universities and researchers to destroy all 1966/76 cannabis research work, including compendiums in libraries, reports Jack Herer. “We know that large amounts of information have since disappeared,” he says.

Guzman provided the title of the work-“Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids,” an article in a 1975 Journal of the National Cancer Institute-and author Raymond Cushing obtained a copy at the UC Medical School Library in Davis, California, and faxed it to Madrid. The 1975 article does not mention breast cancer tumors, which were featured in the only newspaper story ever to appear about the 1974 study in the local section of the Washington Post on August 18, 1974. The headline read, “Cancer Curb Is Studied,” and was followed in part by, “The active chemical agent in marijuana curbs the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice and may also suppress the immunity reaction that causes rejection of organ transplants, a Medical College of Virginia team has discovered. The researchers found that THC slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers, and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent.”

Drug Enforcement Agency officials shut down the Virginia study and all further cannabis research, according to Jack Herer, who reports on these events in his book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes. In 1976, President Gerald Ford put an end to all public cannabis research and granted exclusive research rights to major pharmaceutical companies. These companies set out-unsuccessfully-to develop synthetic forms of THC that would deliver all the medical benefits without the “high.”

Update by Raymond Cushing

When I was a cub reporter twenty-eight years ago at the daily Advocate in Stamford, Connecticut, my first city editor-a white-haired veteran of the International Herald Tribune named Marian Campbell-told me that the cure for cancer was the holy grail of all news stories.

“Unless they discover the cure for cancer,” she would say over the clackety-clack of the manual typewriters, “this paper goes to press on time.”

What I found out a quarter-century later is that not even the cure for cancer is a big enough story to crack the Berlin Wall of media censorship in this country. Toss in the facts that the cure appears to be a benign substance that has been illegal for 63 years, and that the government knowingly suppressed evidence of its curative powers 25 years, and you get twice the storyæand twice the censorship.

I won’t name the “investigative journalists” who didn’t respond when I sent them this story. I won’t list the numerous “progressive” publications that ignored it. I won’t describe the forbidding sense of professional isolation I endured in the months I tried to place the story.

Suffice it to say that it’s what one would expect in a society that has criminalized its own young for two generations around the cannabis issue simply because we were told to do so.

Thousands of innocent people who are in U.S. prisons for possessing or selling “the cure for cancer” await liberation and reparations. Someday our grandchildren will look back and ask, “What did you do to set the cannabis prisoners free?”

Here’s what any responsible journalist should be doing:

Go to primary sources when evaluating cannabis research. The AP and other news organizations love to elevate “bad science” and suppress “good science” when it comes to cannabis. You have to read the original research articles yourself and make your own judgments.

Investigate and report on the war on children that is a major component of the war on drugs. The marijuana laws are the main tool the police use to persecute minors. No other policy affects more families in more insidious and devastating ways than cannabis prohibition.

Learn about the history of cannabis prohibition and about the pharmaceutical, liquor, and tobacco giants that are behind it. If you don’t know the history of cannabis and hemp prohibition, you’re too ignorant to justifiably call yourself a journalist.

If it turns out-as my story would seem to indicate-that cannabis is the cure for cancer and the government suppressed this information for 25 years (and continues to suppress it), then the body count alone will make this the biggest holocaust in recorded history. Virtually all federal drug policy makers of both parties since 1975-including legislators, presidents and the DEA-will be complicit and criminally liable.

That’s why they don’t want this story covered.

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