This October, Paradise Seeds is gearing up for another road trip of 420km through central Europe. It will take 3 days and pass through the Czech Republic and Austria. At times we will be hitting maximum speeds of 35km per hour, while at other times we will be crawling along at closer to 5km per hour. However, this is a special journey we repeat every year and it is also one of our highlights of the year.
We are talking about the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour of course, and this will be the 6th year that we have participated. In fact we are proud to say that we were one of just two participants in the first ever bike tour! The magical journey of the bike tour is well catalogued around the internet, but for a brief history you can read more here.
This year’s bike tour ends at a special edition of the Cultiva expo in Vienna, which is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. It also promises to be special because the final arrangements are being made to begin clinical trials in Spain that will be totally financed by the bike tour (money raised through sponsorship). Patients who have been diagnosed with brain cancer will be treated with a combination of cannabinoids (THC and CBD) and anti-cancer drugs in a handful of Spanish hospitals.
Medical Cannabis: A change of Attitude
We have become accustomed to hearing about the positive effects of cannabis for patients suffering from a wide range of medical conditions – from arthritis and muscular pain to epilepsy and cancer. Cannabis as a medicine has more or less gone mainstream. You only have to see some of the videos widely circulated on the internet to see the amazing effects cannabis can have:
These are still early days in the scientific research of cannabis however. To put things into perspective, it was only in the 1990s, that scientists discovered that there are cannabinoid receptors (which cannabinoids like THC and CBD react with) in the human body.
Scientists’ Accidental Cannabis Discovery
Since the beginning, the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour has supported the work of scientists at the Complutense University in Madrid, particularly the research of Dr Guillermo Valesco and Dr Manuel Guzman. Increasingly their research has been accepted by the medical industry, but they faced an uphill battle when they first began on this road almost 20 years ago.
Originally they had been studying the effect of cannabinoids on metabolism but by chance they experimented with cannabinoids on Glioma cells and found that when the tumour cells were treated with these, the cells started dying.
It was only when an article on their research was published in the scientific journal, Nature Medicine in 2000 that scientific eyes opened to the potential anti-cancer qualities. This led to media coverage and more laboratory studies to show how cannabinoids affected cancerous cells in conditions such as Glioma (brain cancer), Melanoma (skin), breast, pancreatic and lymphatic cancers.
These studies looked at not only how cannabinoids destroy cancer cells but how they starve them of the nutrients needed to grow. This is significant, because many people die from cancer because it spreads from the original source to other points of the body. Cannabinoids seem to inhibit this process of migration of the cells and this really could be game changing science.
The great thing about the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour is that its goal is to profit science. The results from these clinical trials will be shared with science and hopefully serve as a building block to develop new treatments that give hope to cancer patients in the future. So it’s time to saddle up and get going. Czech Republic and Austria, here we come!...