“Patients want something ‘natural’ to try to treat their cancer or prevent their cancer from coming back,” says Memorial Sloan Kettering pharmacist and herbalist K. Simon Yeung. “But the people promoting these treatments might not necessarily have a medical or oncology background. In addition, patients who try these therapies may find, when they come back to seek mainstream treatment, that it’s too late and their cancer has already spread.”
Cannabis oil is often heralded as a treatment for cancer and other diseases, but there’s no science to support these claims.
Cannabis oil is available in several forms with different potencies. It can be infused into cooking oil that users squirt under the tongue or mix into food. Its vapors can also be inhaled. By federal law, cannabis products are illegal, though several states have enacted laws to legalize their medical use.
Apricot seeds are abundant with an ingredient known as Amygdalin, also known as vitamin B-17. It is really an essential nutrient which has gained popularity due to its capability to kill cancer cells.
Apricot seeds are abundant with an ingredient known as Amygdalin, also known as vitamin B-17. It is really an essential nutrient which has gained popularity due to its capability to kill cancer cells. Please have a look at our Health Benefits page to find out more about this great product.
Full Spectrum Cannabis Oil Vitamin B17 infused
The hierarchy of evidence
The overarching point that I am trying to make here is that you should be skeptical about claims regarding cancer cures (and medicine and science in general). Whenever you hear a claim that something cures cancer, you need to take a good look at the evidence to see whether or not that claim is justified. More often than not, the claims are based on anecdotes, in vitro trials, and animal trials. I explained the problems with anecdotes at length here, and I have spent most of this post on in vitro trials, but animal trials suffer many of the same problems. Mice and rats are biochemically different from humans, and drugs often behave very differently in animals than they do in humans. For example, although avocados are generally considered to be safe for humans, they can be toxic to birds, mice, rabbits, rats, sheep, and a variety of other animals.
The point is that before you accept that something cures cancer in humans, you need to look at the studies to see if they actually have the ability to reach that conclusion. In almost every case, they don’t. For example, systematic reviews of B17 have found that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that it is either safe or effective at treating cancer in humans (Milazzo et al. 2007, 2015). Similarly, we just don’t have any good clinical data to suggest that marijuana is effective at curing cancer in humans. So in answer to the question of why the FDA hasn’t approved treatments like these, it is quite simply, because we don’t have compelling evidence that they are either safe or effective in humans. The whole point of the FDA is to make sure that treatments are both safe and effective before they are approved for general use, but that evidence is completely lacking for alternative cancer treatments.
This brings me to another important point: cancer is very difficult to treat because it is part of your body. Developing a drug that safely kills something like bacteria is comparatively easy because bacterial cells are biochemically very different from human cells. So to kill bacteria, you just have to develop a chemical that will interfere with biochemical pathways that are found in bacteria but not found in humans. Cancer is much more challenging because the cancer cells are simply mutated versions of your own cells. As such, they have most of the same basic biochemical pathways as your other cells. This makes it exceptionally hard to find a safe treatment, because most chemicals that kill cancer cells will also kill normal, healthy cells. This is a big part of why it is so hard to cure cancer, and it is a very important reason why you should be skeptical of claims that someone has found a cure for cancer. Unless they can explain exactly how that cure targets cancer cells without targeting normal cells, you probably shouldn’t believe them.
Is it safe?
This is probably the most important point in this post. For a “cure” for cancer to really be effective, it has to both kill cancer cells and be safe for your other cells. Finding things that kill cancer cells is easy, but finding things that kill cancer cells without harming your other cells is very difficult. For example, flame throwers kill cancer cells, but that doesn’t make them an effective treatment. Similarly, gasoline will kill cancer cells, but I don’t recommend drinking it. Alcohol will also kill a plate of cancer cells, but in humans, it actually causes cancer! Laetrile (commonly known as vitamin B17) is another great example of this. There is some evidence that it can kill cancer cells in the lab, but it does so by releasing cyanide, which will kill your normal healthy cells just as quickly as it kills cancer cells.
Nevertheless, despite the obvious benefits of cell lines, they are also problematic because they limit the scope of your conclusions. Imagine, for example, that scientists find that chemical X kills cancer cell line Y in the lab. All that would mean is that X kills one particular line of one particular type of cancer. It may or may not work on any other cell lines or any other types of cancer. So you have to keep that in mind when you hear that a new study found a chemical that killed a particular line of cancer cells. The study may be right, but its results may not apply to anything beyond that particular cell line.
Finally, we have to remember that the dose makes the poison as well as the cure. So for a chemical to be an effective treatment, it is going to have to kill the cancer cells at a dose that is below the dose at which it becomes dangerously toxic to humans. Indeed, this is the balance that doctors try to find with our current treatments of radiation and chemotherapy. Cancer cells divide very rapidly, and those treatments are particularly good at attacking dividing cells, so they tend to do more harm to cancer cells than to your normal cells, but there is still collateral damage. In other words, the idea is to find a balance between having just enough of the treatment to kill the cancer cells, without killing too many of your healthy cells. This is extremely important to understand, because although some of the “alternative” cancer treatments might kill cancer cells, they probably kill your healthy cells as well, and because they haven’t been well-studied, we don’t know what the correct dose is. In other words, don’t assume that something is safe just because it has the label of “alternative medicine.” As I said earlier, B17 actually produces cyanide. So “alternative” treatments may not be safe, and they usually aren’t even treatments.