Thursday, January 17, 2013

Non-pyschoactive Cannabidiol, Could It Play a Role in Tobacco Harm Reduction?

I was reading an alternative medicine newsletter this morning when I came across some rather interesting information on the role of non-psychoactive cannabidiol could have in fighting cancer, which in turn reminded me of an idea that I have entertained in the past: What would happen if legal cannabinoids were to be utilized in the field of tobacco harm reduction?

This makes for an interesting read:

We also show, for the first time, that the antiproliferative effect of CBD was correlated to induction of apoptosis, as determined by cytofluorimetric analysis and single-strand DNA staining, which was not reverted by cannabinoid antagonists.
Finally, CBD, administered s.c. to nude mice at the dose of 0.5 mg/mouse, significantly inhibited the growth of subcutaneously implanted U87 human glioma cells.  
In conclusion, the nonpsychoactive CBD was able to produce a significant antitumor activity both in vitro and in vivo, thus suggesting a possible application of CBD as an antineoplastic agent.

Gliomas, btw, are highly aggressive tumors of the brain.

[Brainlife] MASSI P et al (2004) - Antitumor Effects of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoid, on Human Glioma Cell Lines

Here is a link to the full study:

Antitumor Effects of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoid, on Human Glioma Cell Lines

Consider this thought: if non-psychoactive cannabidiols have been shown to produce anti-tumor activity in those suffering from brain cancer, one has to wonder if cannabidiols might also have a place in the treatment of lung cancer, or even in the field of lung cancer prevention. Hell, what if tobacco companies were to add legal cannabidiols to tobacco as a means of harm reduction? ..Sounds like a crazy idea, but check this out:

Studies conducted by Dr. Tashkin in 1990 found that marijuana smoke has almost the exact same carcinogens (cancer causing agents) as tobacco smoke and that the concentration of these carcinogens was exceedingly higher in marijuana smoke. These studies are the basis for the government’s warning in thousands of ads that smoking one marijuana joint does as much damage as smoking four cigarettes.

To document a connection between lung cancer and marijuana smoking, Dr. Tashkin received a very large grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

With over 2,200 subjects, the research was one of the largest case control studies of its kind ever!

The government was horrified at the results and did its best to ignore them as Dr. Tashkin failed to find any link between smoking marijuana and the development of lung cancer.

There was no correlation found between marijuana smoking and lung cancer. That's interesting. How can this be? That the government was horrified at the result of this study comes as to no surprise for many of us.

The fact that marijuana smoke contains many of the same cancer causing carcinogens as tobacco smoke (and in higher concentrations) while showing no correlation with lung cancer raises some serious questions that need to be taken seriously.

Dr. Tashkin then goes on to state that there may have even been a protective effect amongst some of the subjects studied. For those who are interested the rest of the article in its entirely, it can be found here.

If it is in fact shown that it's the non-psychoactive cannabinoids that are responsible for this protective effect, then there is no reason to assume that these same constituents couldn't also be beneficial if added to tobacco smoke, and not just (being that marijuana smoke has higher levels of the same carcinogens) on a minor level. The possibilities don't end there either.

What if legal cannabinoids were combined with that of a higher nicotine (ie., less smoke inhalation) cigarette, a cigarette infused with anti-oxidants such as grapefruit seed extract, charcoal filters, or any of the above in aggregate? How great would the protective effect be then? The prospects are truly amazing, which is what truly makes this subject so interesting.

..Too bad that this is an idea that goes against the current cultural relativism and prejudices of the day, for many lives could be extended if such research were to be conducted and made known to the public.


  1. That's very interesting JR. I've bookmarked the Dr Tashkin page for further perusal at a later date when I have more time.

    That marijuana appears to have a protective effect with regards cancers is something that in any sane world would have been the subject of a great deal of research. Unfortunately we live in a world where those driving policy would rather see lives and livelihoods destroyed and economies brought to their knees than allow for a safer form of cigarette. They just have a visceral hatred of anything even vaguely related to tobacco, and will refuse to even listen to anything which disagrees with their ideology, however right or beneficial it might be.

    Still, on the bright side, I should be ok on the LC front, having in my younger days smoked tons (almost literally) of cannabis. :)

    In actual fact, if a cigarette / tobacco came on the market that tasted like a spliff but didn't get you wasted, I'd be first in line to try it, as I've always loved the flavour of hash and grass; it's just not always practical, however, to be stoned out of your brains all day...

    1. Nisakiman,

      "In actual fact, if a cigarette / tobacco came on the market that tasted like a spliff but didn't get you wasted, I'd be first in line to try it, as I've always loved the flavour of hash and grass"

      Hmmm.....I wonder if the flavor would be affected.....if say, for example, an extract of the beneficial components was, minus the plant fiber...or maybe if used in the filter (?)...Lol....I don't know. It's fun to imagine though:-)

    2. ..or...maybe the tobacco plant could be modified (genetically) to include similar anti-inflammatory cannabinoids without changing the flavor...(?) Or....actually, this reminds me of something that I read and posted a while back:

      Tobacco, before curing, contains anti-inflammatory cembranoids.

      "Researchers at the University of Louisiana at Monroe have discovered anticancer compounds in the most unlikely of places - tobacco leaves."

      "The leaf and flower of the tobacco plant contain high amounts of the key flavor ingredient called cembranoids, which shows promise as an anti-cancer agent," El Sayed said. "It was very exciting to discover the anti-cancer activities."

      I'm sure that some tobacco company (or scientist) somewhere is already trying to figure out how to incorporate tobacco cembranoids back into cured tobacco. Lol! Fascinating!