When Darren Miller from Granite City, Illinois, found out he had contracted lung cancer, he was understandably devastated
But Darren’s story is not a conventional one about miracle chemo therapy or the like. His story is an amazing journey of discovery, and ultimately recovery and good health.
Darren told reporters, “With my original diagnosis, I was given six months to a year to live.” by doctors, and that came after Miller had been struggling with MS for the past 9 years.
The shock diagnosis came after Miller suffered congestive heart failure. During an operation, the Stage Four Lung Adenocarcinoma was noticed by the surgeons. At the time Darren and his family believed that their only recourse was chemotherapy, but in the end Darren took a different route of treatment too.
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Not long after the bad news, Darren and his wife Amy spoke with Mark Pederson, co-founder of the ECS Therapy Center in Peoria, and Rick Simpson, author of “Phoneix Tears: The Rick Simpson Story,” regarding medical cannabis for treating cancer.
Darren decided to try the holistic route, after the chemo left him feeling dazed and confused. He obtained a legal medical cannabis card in his state and within 24 hours of use, Darren said his mouth sores had vanished completely, while he had no idea what the state of his tumors were.
By combining chemo treatments with medical cannabis, Darren was able, within just six months, to get his cancer under control and his blood work showed normal counts for the first time in years.
Darren’s wife Amy told reporters, “We were just hoping for remission. I quit my job to stay at home to help him. His dad, his family and strangers helped us come up with cash to go to California and get this treatment. I cried literally the whole way to California. Darren means everything to me. He is my world and my everything.”
Darren Miller also spoke to reporters, telling them that although medical cannabis treatment seemed to work for him, it’s not for everyone, “This doesn’t work for everybody,” he said. “Thousands of people are now doing it. I spend three or four hours a night talking to people how I make the oils and try to educate people about it.”
For now Darren is in remission and leading a more or less normal life. Him and Amy take things day-by-day, as they try to help other cancer victims through the use of medical cannabis.
So what other evidence is out there to support the notion that medical cannabis can actually cure certain types of cancer?
According to cancerresearchuk.com, there is no doubt that cannabinoids are interesting biological molecules. Initially, back in the 1970s, researchers looked at the anticancer properties of cannabinoids, and since then, hundreds of scientific papers have been published to support the claim.
In terms of actual lab research, the evidence is not so solid as investigation has only been done on cancer cells grown in the lab or via animal models.
What science has found, neatly summarized in the journal, National Reviews Cancer, is that cannabinoids have a wide range of effects in the lab. They include the following:
- Triggering cell death, through a mechanism called apoptosis
- Stopping cells from dividing
- Preventing new blood vessels from growing into tumours
- Reducing the chances of cancer cells spreading through the body, by stopping cells from moving or invading neighbouring tissue
- Speeding up the cell’s internal ‘waste disposal machine’ – a process known as autophagy – which can lead to cell death
To date, the most compelling compounds inside the cannabis plant according to research, are THC and CBD. Lab tests using a combination of these two compounds have seen the best results in animal models.
It’s not all good news though, as there is evidence also to the contrary that cancer cells can develop resistance to cannabinoids and start growing again, although much more research needs to be done before solid conclusions can be drawn.
For example, researchers also found that THC works through two different receptor molecules coming together – CB2 and GPR55 – and that high doses slow cancer cells’ growth while low doses do not. As such, designing the perfect pill with the perfect mix of THC and CBD is a challenge that needs overcoming.
Is there any credible clinical research proving that medical cannabis kills cancer?
On the clinical research side of things, a relevant trial that has been published, is one carried out by Dr Manual Guzman in Spain. In the study, 9 people with advanced, terminal glioblastoma multiforme, a brain tumor, were given THC in high doses, directly to the brain.
Eight of the nine subjects’ cancer showed some response to the THC, even though all of them died within a year of the study. However, the results show that THC does affect some cancers, we just don’t know yet which and how.
Other anecdotal evidence is available, and some of the specific case studies of real cases are compelling. However, there is a long road ahead in proving that medical cannabis cures cancer, a road thousands of patients hope will be ventured, sooner rather than later.
[Featured image credit: Pixabay]