Dr. Velasco explains research with cannabinoids for cancer treatment

Dr Guillermo Velasco from the Complutense University in Madrid talks about the upcoming independent clinical trials that are due to take place in Spain in 2018. The trials are being funded by donations from the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour, a non-profit organization that raises money through sponsorship of its annual bike ride.

Dr Velasco describes how the clinical trials will be conducted (based on a study of 30 patients), using the cannabinoids, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Dr Velasco will be overseeing the trials that are being conducted with the support of the Spanish Group on Neuro Oncological Investigation, GEINO. Current scientific evidence supports that cannabis derivatives may provide relief to patients suffering from gliomas.

Published studies have demonstrated that the active principles of cannabis promote cancer cell death. Pre-clinical work performed over the past few years by the Complutense University team, has proved that the active principles of cannabis have anticancer activity in animal and cell models of glioma.

MCBT 2017: A Victory for Everybody!


Well, what a fantastic Medical Cannabis Bike Tour we had! For three days in October we brought our special brand of MCBT magic to the mountains and valleys of Czech Republic and Austria. We had it all – sunshine, wind, rain, tough times, good times and 3 days of hardcore cycling!

Yet again the atmosphere was fantastic as riders and volunteers from all over the world came together as one to support this great cause. The sense of comradeship was fantastic!

  • You can read the tour diary on our Facebook page
  • You can watch videos from the tour on our Youtube channel

We arrived at in Vienna (at the 10th anniversary Cultiva) after riding 420km. And we arrived bearing gifts! Dr Guillermo Valesco from Madrid’s Complutense University was waiting to receive a check for 95,000 Euros, adding to the already significant funds that his team have avaialable to conduct their independent clinical trials, hopefully beginning early next year.

Dr Velasco (pictured receiving the Check from MCBT co-founder Luc Krol) told the riders gathered at Cultiva; “Thank you very much for your continued support for the cause and specifically for these clinical trials. It is a really excellent achievement and you have made possible something that is very special – to make independent clinical trials.” 

Destination Cultiva – Cannabis Congress

The destination for the 2017 Medical Cannabis Bike Tour is the Austrian capital, Vienna, and specifically the Cultiva Hemp Expo (or Hanfmesse). This event is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017 and it is a well established expo in Europe.

Cannabis is legal in Austria until the plant begins to flower or so long as it does not produce THC, which makes for a rather unique quasi-legal status. Aside from the creativity of recreational users to work inside the law, cannabis is available in Austria for medical and scientific purposes and the number of medical users, for a range of illnesses and conditions, is steadily increasing.

Cultiva has established a reputation for highlighting the wider benefits of the cannabis plant. At the heart of this ethos is the Cultiva Congress, where international experts take to the stage to share knowledge about research, developments and current trends in the cannabis world. Presentations encompass medicine, politics, law and lifestyle.

This year, as always, a diverse panel will talk on topics including hemp textiles, hemp as a super food and the paradox of prohibition. However the dominant theme at Cultiva 2017 will be cannabis in medicine. The Congress program features talks on many aspects of this – from cannabis in psychiatry to legal aspects on pharma-grade cannabinoid extracts.

Also speaking at the Congress is Dr Guillermo Velasco, who opens the congress program with a presentation on cannabinoids as anti-cancer agents. Dr Velasco is one of the scientists from the University of Complutense in the Spanish capital of Madrid who will be conducting the clinical trials which will be paid for with money raised by the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour.

Representatives of the bike tour will present Dr Velasco with a check on the first day of the expo, funds that will pay the expenses of the independent clinical trial studying the effects of THC and CBD as anti-cancer agents on patients diagnosed with Glioma (brain cancer). 

A Brief History of The Bicycle…

In October, the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour rides again with over 70 riders and volunteers taking to the roads of Czech Republic and Austria to fly the flag for the great cause of medical cannabis research. As with every year, participants will turn up on different types of bicycles. Over the years, in addition to the many super light, super fast road bikes, we have seen participants on mountain bikes, Dutch bikes, a hand powered bike and even a tandem!

There is no doubting the popularity of cycling these days and why not? The bike is a great way to keep fit and get from A to B while being kind to the planet. The first practical bicycle was invented by Baron Karl von Drais in Germany in 1817. It looked very much like the modern bicycle with one (big) difference – it had no pedals! The rider ran to pick up speed before jumping on to ride (like the pedal-less bikes small kids learn on now) – as a result it is said that those pioneering bicycle riders wore out their boots very quickly!

It was in the 1860s that pedals were added (in France) and in the 1870s cycling became faster with the invention of the ‘high cycle’. A pedal-driven large front wheel and a small back wheel offered more opportunities for speed, but also more opportunities for danger! In 1878, the first bicycle touring club was established in Britain and members wore grey uniforms because they showed up less dirt.

By the end of the Nineteenth century, the addition of a chain drive attached to the back wheel (to allow control of steering) revolutionised cycling and made the bicycle a mode of transport for the masses. It gave people a freedom that they had not had before and it is this sense of freedom that still appeals to us today. How easy is it to just jump on a bike and see where it takes you?

Some people think it is strange that the MCBT combines cannabis and cycling, but that is what the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour is all about – challenging preconceptions and provoking thought. For many years, medical cannabis was dismissed by policy makers and also many in the medical profession based on prohibition and lazy stereotypes. However, a huge wealth of anecdotal evidence is now being backed up by scientific research and the more we learn the more we realize that ignoring the benefits of medical cannabis was a mistake.

So here’s to the freedom of the bicycle and the thrill of riding the road with a posse of like minded individuals, working together to bring positive change.  And here’s to the work of the scientists pioneering medical cannabis research, working together to bring positive treatment. The Medical Cannabis Bike Tour 2017 is ready to roll!


Go Fund Us!

The days are ticking towards the 2017 Medical Cannabis Bike Tour and yet again we have had a fantastic response from companies that have signed up to sponsor the bike tour. This money will be used to fund scientific research into the benefits of medical cannabis.

We have also had requests from individuals wishing to sponsor the bike tour and we have set up a new fundraising account with Go Fund Me that will allow people to do this. So if you have a friend or family member participating in this year’s bike tour and want to show some support, or if you would just like to support the work of the scientists that we sponsor, then please donate and become part of something special!

Follow the link to the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour Go Fund Me! page

Cannabis v Cancer: An Accidental Discovery



In the lab: Dr Guillermo Velasco and Dr Juan Sepúlveda who will be conducting the MCBT funded clinical trial.

Over the past five years the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour has been raising funds for medical research and final preparations are being made for an ambitious clinical trial into the effects of the cannabinoids THC and CBD on cancer cells.

In the world of science knowledge is increased by the use of clinical trials that test out research that has been carried out in the laboratory. Most of these trials are sponsored by governments or corporate interests – for example pharmaceutical companies developing a new drug for sale.

The MCBT is funding independent trials that will test the research of scientists from Madrid’s Complutense University, specifically the work of Dr Guillermo Velasco and Dr Manuel Guzman focusing on gliomas (brain tumours). Their ground breaking research, first published in  the Nature Medicine scientific journal in 2000.

Their research suggests that cannabinoids have the potential to cause apoptosis in cancer cells (causing them to commit suicide) and stop cancerous cells from migrating. This second aspect is especially significant for brain cancer patients as removing the main tumor can leave cancerous fragments which then travel to other parts of the body.


Accidental Discovery

The research of the Madrid scientists may p[rove to have fundamental implications for the way we treat cancer. However, like many ground breaking discoveries, chance played an influential role.   

As Dr Velasco revealed, in an interview with Weed World magazine, the Madrid scientists research was developed from another university study of endocannabinoids (the chemical compounds naturally produced by the human body to maintain health and balance), observing the effect of cannabinoids on metabolism.

As part of that project they wanted to try out these compounds on cells from the nervous system, specifically the brain. By chance, they experimented on brain cells affected with Glioma (brain cancer) and made the startling discovery that  tumour cells treated with cannabinoids began to die. This prompted the Madrid scientists to extend their research to the laboratory, with impressive results that saw tumours reduced in mice.  

In the years since this amazing discovery, the scientists have continued to research the potential of cannabinoids as an anti-cancer agent. As with all scientific research however, there is a significant jump from getting favourable results in the controlled conditions of the laboratory and testing the research on humans.

However, the scientists’ research has excited many in the scientific community and provided the fuel for scientific research around the world into the potential benefits of cannabinoids. A sign of how seriously the research is considered is the fact that the MCBT funded clinical trials will be administered by the well respected GEINO (The Spanish Group of Neuro-oncologiscal Investigation). The organisation’s chief investigator, Dr Juan Sepúlveda has said he is confident that these trials will provide evidence of cannabinoids reducing tumours (in combination with other anti-cancer agents).

Following the trial, it will take some time before the results are published, but the ramifications for cancer treatment could be very significant indeed.