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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

National Cancer Institute Says Marijuana Is a Cancer-Fighter, Then Backpedals

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 9:22 AM

click to enlarge This will help fight cancer, until the feds say it won't
  • This will help fight cancer, until the feds say it won't
So you think the federal government prevaricates over what to do in Libya? As mixed as many of the government's messages are, the feds really can't take a solid stance when it comes to marijuana.

Earlier this month, the National Cancer Institute bowed to a burgeoning legion of studies suggesting that one of the chemical compounds in cannabis slows -- or even stops -- uncontrolled cell growth. In one study, tumors in lab mice shrank once they were exposed to the compound CBD. The NCI updated its Web site accordingly, including a reference to a "possible direct antitumor effect" from pot.

But sometime since, the reference was removed, much to pot advocates' disgust.

The original passage read, "In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal cannabis, not only for symptom management, but also for its possible direct antitumor effect."

Sometime on Monday, pot advocates noticed this passage had been changed, removing all references to the antitumor effect. What was even more disturbing was the new message that had been put in its place, which stated: "Though no relevant surveys of practice patterns exist, it appears that physicians caring for cancer patients who prescribe medicinal cannabis predominantly do so for symptom management."

Cannabis advocates were not happy. "The backpedaling has begun," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, which noticed the change. "Apparently, politics speak louder than science."

E-mails to the National Cancer Institute's press office were not immediately returned.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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