Artículo: Are the cancer sufferers who are self-administering cannabis extracts following the hype or the science?

SEICMy recent article was published by the Spanish Cannabinoid Research Society.


I have been studying and researching the medicinal properties and application of cannabis and cannabis preparations since 2000. I am the author of Cannabis Cultivator ⁽¹⁾ and co-author of The Medical Cannabis Handbook ⁽²⁾, I have also recently been involved with a documentary following 6 terminal cancer patients self-medicating with cannabis oil (Project Storm ⁽³⁾).

Cannabis Medications

Although the conventional path to market for new medicines is a very long and arduous road, all cannabinoid medications and treatments will have to complete the regulatory process ⁽⁴⁾. In Europe new medicinal products come under the authority of The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products ⁽⁵⁾ which is the EU equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration ⁽⁶⁾. Both EMEA and the FDA have similar mandates; their main requirement is to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of new drugs. From laboratory to patient Due to the length of the regulatory process it is usually many years before the work of academics is translated into medications and treatments available to the public, however in relation to cannabis, cannabis extracts and preparations many individuals are choosing to self-medicate.

It is virtually unheard of for a patient to self-administer an experimental drug that is going through preclinical and/or phased trials, however due to the unique circumstances surrounding cannabis (political, cultural & legal) we find ourselves in somewhat unchartered territory. An example of the work of academics directly influencing individual’s actions is the cannabinoid research conducted at Madrid Complutense University. Their experiments in vitro and in vivo in relation to gliomas indicate that equal amounts of THC and CBD may be more effective than either THC or CBD alone ⁽⁷⁾. It is now becoming more common to find glioma patients (and indeed sufferers of other cancers) self-administering 1:1 THC:CBD cannabis oils; previously the preferred choice was for a high THC oil.

The availability of 1:1 oils has been made possible as some cannabis breeders have (through cross breeding) introduced CBD to existing high THC varieties of cannabis creating CBD rich strains, there are now a wide range of stable 1:1 cannabis strains commercially available ⁽⁸⁾. Here in Spain I have access to a wide variety of cannabinoid profiles ranging from high THC producing plants (22% THC by dry weight) with zero CBD to 28:1 CBD:THC strains.7

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Here is one of my (ethanol) extractions made from a 1:1 THC:CBD strain, Skunk Haze ⁽⁹⁾. The HPLC test indicates almost complete decarboxylation of the phytocannabinoids with zero amounts of CBD-a and 5.6 mg/g of THC-a.

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At 39.9% CBD and 33.1% THC, with an overall cannabinoid content of 79.8%, this is a well-balanced whole plant extraction. An added advantage of CBD is that it can mitigate the psychoactive effects of THC. Which are more effective? Individual cannabinoids or whole plant extracts? From what I observe in the academic world, the majority of the research currently being undertaken involves the use of individual (pure) cannabinoids, either alone or in combination.

There are over 5,000 strains of cannabis plant and cannabis consumers are very aware that strains can often express varying psychological and physical effects despite having very similar cannabinoid profiles. The differing effects are due in part to the terpenoids, which are another pharmacologically active constituent of cannabis, McPartland & Russo’s 2001 paper Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts: Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts? ⁽¹⁰⁾ reports: “Terpenoids may alter the pharmacokinetics of THC by changing the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB); cannabis extracts are known to cause a significant increase in BBB permeability (Agrawal et al. 1989).” The inclusion of terpenes could be beneficial in the treatment of glioma patients. An example: Although terpenes are present in whole plant extracts some are lost during the decarboxylation process due to their low boiling points, the most abundant of the terpenoids found in decarboxylated whole plant extracts is Beta-caryophyllene which interacts with the CB₂ receptor. Betacaryophyllene is also an effective antiinflammatory ⁽¹¹⁾ and it can also help to moderate the effects of the psychoactive cannabinoids.


Terpenes are produced (like cannabinoids) within the trichome.

Often referred to as, resin, the trichome is a glandular structure, predominantly found in the flowering tops of the female plants; trichomes are the chemical factories of the cannabis plant. Terpenes also have a pharmacological effect and whole plant extractions using the correct methodology retain the terpenes. The terpenoids-cannabinoids entourage effect ⁽¹²⁾, is a term coined by Dr. Ethan Russo (of GW Pharma) in his 2011 paper published by the British Journal of Pharmacology which describes the importance of the synergistic contribution of terpenoids ⁽¹³⁾. I am currently working with The Beckley Foundation ⁽¹⁴⁾ and the newly formed “Cannabinoid Research Group”. We will shortly be funding research (here in Spain) to discover if whole plant extracts or individual cannabinoids are more effective as anti-cancer agents than individual pure cannabinoids. Other areas of research for The Beckley Foundation Cannabinoid Research Group: To discover the mechanism of action of CBD. Investigate the bio-availability of cannabinoids, including dosage, & methods of administration. To investigate why some people cancer sufferers consuming cannabis extracts experience remission but not others.


1. Cannabis Cultivator

2. The Medical Cannabis Handbook

3. Project storm

4. The European regulatory system for medicines and the EMA

5. The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products

6. US Food and Drug Administration

7. A Combined Preclinical Therapy of Cannabinoids & Temozolomide against Glioma

8. CBD Crew

9. Skunk Haze

10. Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts: Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts?

11. The Endocannabinoid System and Plant Derived Cannabinoids in Diabetes and Diabetic Complications

12. Entourage Effect

13. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy & phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects

14. The Beckley Foundation

New book available on Amazon

Also available on kindle

The definitive guide to medicinal cannabis

By RaphH on 29 Nov. 2014

Format: Paperback
Verified Purchase

I cannot put this down. I have really bad chronic pain from an unusual Neuropathy. Others like myself are being denied basic rights to have access to very safe Medical Cannabis. I am not talking about people being high on a “joint” or a “spliff” but real medicine that is proved to work by scientific studies.

The authors explain what went wrong. We need change. It is written of a market were people can get hold of safe dried plants and explains in detail how to make your own oils. Unfortunately to have that amount of dried flowers in the UK, you would be arrested!

This is a National shameful tragedy! Denying people their basic rights. There is a company making a fortune out of selling their product to the NHS that could be produced for a tenth of the cost.

The writers then go on and show you how to grow your own and produce medical cannabis oil. Very comprehensive!

The UK needs a modern day Dr Bourne

Dr Bourne

By Jeff Ditchfield

From 1861 until 1967 abortion was illegal in the UK.

Under the Offences Against the Person Act it was an offence to supply or use any “poison or other noxious thing” or to use “any instrument or other means” to cause a woman to miscarry. This act outlawed abortion by either the woman or any other person including a doctor, nurse, midwife or pharmacist.

In 1938, a brave doctor Alec Bourne performed an illegal abortion on a 14-year-old girl who had been raped by five soldiers, in his “medical opinion” it was necessary to conduct an abortion to avoid the girl becoming “a nervous wreck”.

After conducting the abortion Dr Bourne confessed to the police and he was subsequently charged with performing an illegal abortion, he was put on trial at Crown Court (R v Bourne [1938]) where he was acquitted by the jury.

Mr Justice Macnaghten said in his judgement:

“If the doctor is of the opinion, on reasonable grounds and with adequate knowledge, that the probable consequence of the continuance of the pregnancy will be to make the woman a physical or mental wreck, the jury are entitled to take the view that the doctor is operating for the purpose of preserving the life of the mother”

After the acquittal abortions were carried out by physicians in cases where the woman’s physical or mental health was deemed to be in danger.


According to the General Medical Council there are 238,000 doctors in the UK and not one of them has written out a prescription for cannabinoids to treat children dying from cancer, where is today’s Dr Bourne?

If a UK doctor is willing to write a prescription for a cancer patient and if a UK pharmacist is unwilling or unable to fulfil it then I can.


Professor Manuel Guzman

The Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Madrid University is headed by Professor Manuel Guzmán (born 1963), his PhD and post-doctoral research focused on the study of the regulation of liver and brain lipid metabolism. Since 2001 he has been involved in the study of how the active components of cannabis (cannabinoids) act in the body, with special emphasis on the molecular mechanisms of action and on understanding how cannabinoids control cell generation and death.

It was a privilege to interview Manuel

Which cannabinoid is the most effective against cancer?

Many people are aware of the anti-cancer properties of cannabinoids, e.g. they can:

  • Trigger cancer cell death (apoptosis)
  • Stop cancer cells dividing
  • Prevent new blood vessels from growing into tumours (angiogenesis)
  • Reduce cancer cells spreading throughout the body (metastasising)
  • Speed up autophagy, which can lead to cell death

But which is the most effective cannabinoid against cancer?

According to Rick Simpson, it is THC and only if it is 95% – 98% potency but the science and the lab experiments indicate that for certain cancers different cannabinoids or even combinations of cannabinoids may be more effective than THC alone

e.g. in the treatment of gliomas. At the University of Madrid they have conducted some experiments into treating gliomas with just THC, just CBD, THC & CBD combined, and THC & CBD alongside the chemotherapy drug Temozolomide

The experiments on human glioma cells so far have been restricted to animal models, however the experiments have been conducted on human cancerous glioma cells and the results indicate that THC & CBD are more effective when they’re combined than just THC on its own.

The most interesting result is that it is only when they administered THC alongside TMZ (Temozolomide) did they get regression

As illustrated below


I’m not claiming that Rick’s wrong and Madrid University are correct but what this illustrates is that people have to do their own research and make up their own minds as to what’s their best course of action

My best advice?, follow the science


Cambridge UK medical technology pioneer GW Pharmaceuticals has started trials of a cannabis-based drug designed to treat a notably aggressive form of brain tumour.

The company has begun a Phase 1b/2a clinical trial for the treatment of Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). It is initially targeting the US and Europe with the drug.

Glioma describes any tumour that arises from the glial tissue of the brain. GBM is a particularly aggressive tumour that forms from abnormal growth of glial tissue.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, GBM accounts for around 50 per cent of the 22,500 new cases of brain cancer diagnosed in the US each year.

Treatment options are limited and expected survival is a little over a year. GBM is considered a rare, or orphan, disease by the FDA in America and the European Medicines Agency.
The new study follows years of pre-clinical research by GW in the field of glioma which suggests that cannabinoids could be a particularly effective potential treatment.
Dr Stephen Wright, director of R & D at GW said: “We are very excited about moving this compound into further human study and for the prospects of cannabinoids as new anti-cancer treatments.

“This is GW’s first clinical study of cannabinoids as a potential treatment to inhibit tumour growth. We believe this clinical program demonstrates the flexibility and broad application of GW’s cannabinoid platform to treat significant, unmet therapeutic needs.”

Under CEO Justin Glover, GW is enjoying great commercial success across Europe with cannabis-based treatments for MS and sees cancer as a prime target area for its lead products. 



Cannabis Destroys Cancer Cells, Scientists Find

By HANNAH OSBORNE October 31, 2013

Cannabis components are able to destroy cancer cells and hold the potential to offer drug treatments to sufferers, a study has found.

Researchers at St George’s, University of London, have found non-hallucinogenic cannabinoids are effective anti-cancer drugs.

Previously, scientists had recognised that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main hallucinogenic component of cannabis, has anti-cancer properties.

However, there has been little research into other compounds derived from the drug.

Study leader Wai Liu looked at cannabis derived compounds, known as cannabinoids, to see if any had anti-cancer properties against leukaemia.

Of the six cannabinoids studied, all demonstrated anti-cancer properties as effective as THC. They also found the anti-cancer effects increased when combined with each other.

Cost effective

“This study is a critical step in unpicking the mysteries of cannabis as a source of medicine,” Liu said. “The cannabinoids examined have minimal, if any, hallucinogenic side effects, and their properties as anti-cancer agents are promising.

“These agents are able to interfere with the development of cancerous cells, stopping them in their tracks and preventing them from growing. In some cases, by using specific dosage patterns, they can destroy cancer cells on their own.”

The researchers now plan to examine the cannabinoids in combination with existing cancer treatments to find ways to make therapies more efficient.

“Used in combination with existing treatment, we could discover some highly effective strategies for tackling cancer.

“Significantly, these compounds are inexpensive to produce and making better use of their unique properties could result in much more cost effective anti-cancer drugs in future.”