MontanaPBS's new documentary, Clearing the Smoke, reveals how cannabis acts on the brain and in the body to treat nausea, pain, epilepsy and potentially even cancer. Extensive interviews with patients, doctors, researchers and skeptics detail the promises and the limitations of medicinal cannabis.
The cancer-killing properties of marijuana were the subject of discussion in a PBS documentary that aired this week to little media fanfare.
While using marijuana to kill cancer may sound like a wild claim to some, it struck Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti as a great idea. In his studies as professor of pathology and microbiology for the University of South Carolina, he tested synthetic cannabis drugs on cancer cells and developed a formula that was able to completely eradicate cancer cells in a test tube.
A follow-up on mice afflicted with cancer found that up to 30 percent in the test group completely rejected their disease, while others had their tumors significantly reduced. The same drug is now being tested on humans with Leukemia.
But it’s not just Dr. Nagarkatti who sees the medical value of marijuana: it’s the whole pharmaceutical industry. And that’s another point the documentary makes, examining the patents various companies have filed, and what they claim marijuana-based drugs could one day be used to treat.