Posted: Oct 28, 2013 1:52 am
by Claussen
@Ispry: I would advise you to be highly skeptical of anything that claims to be a cure all to cancer. This is because cancer is not a singular disease. Cancer is basically uncontrolled cell growth and division, which can be attained through various molecular mechanisms. Additionally, each of these mechanisms tends to have its own quirks and manifests slightly differently. To complicate things even more, cancer is generally not caused solely by a single mutation. Scientists have recently begun sorting mutations into different categories based upon the pathways it effects (i.e. DNA repair, cell cycle regulation, angiogenesis, etc...). The mutations in each category in addition to the number of categories overall continue to expand as researchers find more links to cancer, and I currently believe the average is somewhere around 6 mutations required to cause cancer). As a result, while certain treatments may be effective against certain cancers, there is no catch-all cure due to the ways in which cancer can manifest.

While there is no doubt that cannabis has a helpful palliative effect for cancer patients, I can pretty confidently say that it is not the "phoenix tears" that people who don't understand the science behind cancer make it out to be. Nonetheless, this is not to say that cannabis does not have some sort of anti-cancer effect for specific variants of cancer (I believe this is what most scientists who are actually researching cannabis' anti-cancer potential are interested in versus a "cure-all").

Just for fun I've included two links to comics that help illustrate this in an easily understood fashion :P
http://xkcd.com/1217/
http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2438

@mkbrown67: You are correct in the sense that chemotherapy drugs are essentially "toxic poisons". However, to place them in the same category as benzene and toluene is not quite correct. I would like to take this time to address the issue of why chemotherapy drugs are poisons because many people cannot seem to understand why this is a necessary evil. All cancers stem from your own cells. In other words, they are YOU. This is why chemotherapy has such harsh side effects. Antibiotics have the luxury of targeting bacteria who have a significantly different morphology than your cells. As a result, antibiotics are often formulated to interfere with properties that are necessary for them to survive that have little to no consequences for your own cells. The big one here would be bacterial walls since many bacteria have this but your cells don't. On the other hand, in order to target cancer cells, we take advantage of exaggerated traits. For example, many chemotherapy drugs interfere with DNA replication, which is essential for cell division. This effects cancer cells more heavily since they divide so frequently, but it inadvertently affects your cells as well since they also continue to divide (albeit at a slower rate). As a result, chemotherapy drugs are chosen or designed because they take advantage of these exaggerated properties. Chemicals that are toxic to your cells in general that don't take advantage of these properties provide no benefit and would only cause the patient's health to ail even faster. Therefore, will2568 has all the right in the world to be worried about the safety of the manufacturing process.