Using high doses of marijuana extract, prepared via methods outlined by well-known cannabis activist Rick Simpson, the patient experienced rapid reductions in leukemic cell counts.
Local doctors Yadvinder Singh, MD and Chamandeep Bali, ND detailed the case last month in the journal Case Reports in Oncology.
“Despite the nonstandardization of the medicines, the dose was readily titrated according to the biological response of the patient and produced a potentially life-saving response, namely, the drop in the leukemic blast cell count.”
The patient, who was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 14, eventually turned to high doses of cannabis extract after 34 months of traditional chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy treatments proved unsuccessful.
Although the patient passed away 11 weeks into marijuana treatment, her death was caused by severe intestinal bleeding, a common side-effect of chemotherapy.
On the other hand, after starting marijuana treatment, the doctors report that the patient experienced almost no side-effects, and became healthy enough to return home from her placement at a palliative care center.
“It must be noted that where our most advanced chemotherapeutic agents had failed to control the blast counts and had devastating side effects that ultimately resulted in the death of the patient, the cannabinoid therapy had no toxic side effects and only psychosomatic properties, with an increase in the patient’s vitality.”
While case reports on marijuana’s anti-cancer effects are rare, the authors note that an abundance of pre-clinical studies support the potential of cannabis compounds to fight various cancers, including leukemia.
What’s more, both research and the current case report suggest a dose-dependent effect, meaning that higher doses show stronger anti-cancer activity.
Unfortunately, despite the promise, progress in clinical settings has been slow.
“It goes without saying that much more research and, even more importantly, phase clinical trials need to be implemented to determine the benefits of such therapies. Laboratory analysis is critical to figure out the constituents/profiles/ratios of the vast cannabis strains that show the most favored properties for exerting possible anticancer effects.”
Cannabis also appears to be safer and less toxic than traditional cancer therapies, according to the authors, who conclude: “It is tempting to speculate that, with integration of this care in a setting of full medical and laboratory support, a better outcome may indeed be achieved in the future.”