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Taking yet another chip out of the federal government's insistence that cannabis has "no medical value," researchers at St. George's University of London announced Monday in the scientific journal Anticancer Research that six different compounds in the plant have the ability to eradicate cancer cells.
The scientists focused on three different types of cannabinoids -- cannabidiol, cannabigerol and cannabigevarin -- each in two seperate forms, making up six in all. Each compound is derived exclusively from the cannabis plant, but none of them produce the "high" commonly associated with marijuana consumption.
If the study's author is to be believed, what they discovered has the potential to turn the tide in the battle against cancer.
"These agents are able to interfere with the development of cancerous cells, stopping them in their tracks and preventing them from growing," Dr. Wai Liu, who led the study, explained in an advisory. "In some cases, by using specific dosage patterns, they can destroy cancer cells on their own."
"This study is a critical step in unpicking the mysteries of cannabis as a source of medicine," Dr. Wai Liu added. "The cannabinoids examined have minimal, if any, hallucinogenic side effects, and their properties as anti-cancer agents are promising."
"Used in combination with existing treatment, we could discover some highly effective strategies for tackling cancer," he concluded. "Significantly, these compounds are inexpensive to produce and making better use of their unique properties could result in much more cost effective anti-cancer drugs in future."
In other words, science is now discovering that there really may be some truth to Tommy Chong's claim that marijuana helped him "kick cancer's ass."
Despite the ongoing, groundbreaking research into medical marijuana taking place around the world, researchers in the U.S. still complain that it is virtually impossible to obtain cannabis for testing purposes.
Photo: Flickr user Neeta Lind, creative commons licensed.