What Scientific Studies Say About Marijuana: PART 7

You might think that we would be done with this series on scientific studies conducted on marijuana, since the government routinely tells us there’s not much information on the dangers of marijuana available — but here we are. Last time, we talked about studies that demonstrated THC’s ability to shrink brain tumors in animal tests and the government’s attempts to quash those reports. We also mentioned the Reagan Administration’s attempts to purge research done on the subject as part of its insane “war of drugs” and the DEA’s effect on minority arrests.

Before federal support for marijuana studies what cut off in 1976, there was a study that explored its effects on the relief of symptoms caused by chemotherapy in 1975.

Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Dr. Lester Grinspoon was a huge opponent of marijuana back in the 60s because his buddy Carl Sagan — who you’ve heard about if you ever watched Cosmos — was smoking so much. But it was Grinspoon’s subsequent research that made him realize that the anti-marijuana sentiment was based on government-funded propaganda and nothing else.

His research was furthered when his son Danny was diagnosed with leukemia when he was only 15. 

Grinspoon wrote: “On a normal day of chemotherapy, I hoped we could make it home from the hospital before Danny’s vomiting would start, and we always had to put a big bucket next to his bed. But the first time he tried taking a few puffs prior to a round of treatments, he got off the gurney and said, ‘Mom, there’s a sub shop in Brookline. Could we stop for a sub-sandwich on the way home?’ And all I thought was, ‘Wow.’”

It was because of this that Grinspoon convinced the oncology department at Boston Children’s Hospital to conduct a study in 1975, which was subsequently published in the New England Journal of Medicine after discovering that THC can reduce nausea and vomiting in chemo patients.