Sprite, Marijuana and Cancer

Sprite is the world’s leading lemon-lime flavored soft drink.  Introduced in 1961, Sprite is sold in more than 190 countries and ranks as the No. 4 soft drink worldwide, with a strong appeal to young people. (1)

The No. 1 lemon-lime soft drink was one of the fastest-growing Coca-Cola brands through 1997 although growth slowed in 1998 when volume was up just 3 percent.  Then the brand began to decline.

In 2004, Coke created Miles Thirst, a vinyl doll used in advertising to exploit the hip-hop market for soft drinks and to appeal to teen males in suburbia.

More recently, Sprite has been appealing to a very different crowd.  Scientific researchers have shown that Sprite appears to control stomach acidity in a way likely to allow greater absorption of an oral anticancer drug, Lilly Compound X (LCX), into the body.(2)

Faraj Atassi and colleagues note that efforts are underway to develop more anticancer medications that patients can take by mouth.  However, biological variations among patients — due to variations in stomach acidity and other factors — can reduce the effectiveness of oral anticancer drugs. Based on the results, the scientists suggest that patients in future clinical trials take the drug with Sprite.(3)

However, let’s hope the researchers don’t give the sugar-free version, Sprite Zero, to their patients to take alongside their medication.


Low-calorie, or diet soda products, have recently come under fire from various sources.

One of these is San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom.  The Mayor recently intensified his surge against soda pop just as the city’s health department issued regulations to guide medical marijuana shops in how to prepare “edible cannabis products”.

He issued an executive order in April banning Fanta and its ilk from vending machines on city property. The order, now being implemented, also limits diet sodas to no more than 25 percent of the machine’s offerings.

The directive encourages “soy milk, rice milk and other similar dairy or non-dairy milk.”  Juice is permitted as long as it is 100 percent fruit, and vegetable juice cannot include added sweeteners.

The Washington Times asks :

Does Mr. Newsom believe that Sprite and Dr Pepper are more hazardous to your health than a marijuana milkshake? (4)

Maybe, if he has read concerns about the sweeter aspartame, used in many diet drinks, and brain cancer.

Approximately 17,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with primary cancer each year and nearly 13,000 die of the disease. The annual incidence of primary brain cancer generally is 15–20 cases per 100,000 people and is the leading cause of cancer-related death in patients younger than age 35.(5)

Aspartame, or Nutra-Sweet, is an artificial sweetener and is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose, or table sugar. Aspartame is in over 4,000 products worldwide and is consumed by over 200 million people in the United States alone. Monsanto, the company that distributed aspartame, receives $1 billion in profit annually. (6)

However, the safety of aspartame has been the subject of several political and medical controversies, and several Congressional hearings since its initial approval for use in food products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1974.

A medical review in 2007 on the subject concluded that:

“the weight of existing scientific evidence indicates that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a non-nutritive sweetener”.

In 2006, researchers from the National Cancer Institute, examined the consumption of aspartame-containing beverages among 285,079 men and 188,905 women who were 50 to 71 years old and living across the U.S.   They reported that, in a comparison of people who drank aspartame-containing beverages with those who did not, increasing levels of consumption were not associated with an increased risk of lymphomas, leukemias, or brain cancers in men or women.(7)

The Center for Science in the Public Interest ( CSPI) says;

while this study seemed to ease cancer fears related to aspartame, the study had major limitations including its reliance on imprecise food-frequency questionnaires, and it included only subjects between the ages of 50 and 69 who first consumed aspartame as adults. The effects of consuming aspartame from infancy or childhood might be very different.

Thus, a dozen toxicology and epidemiology experts and the CSPI are calling on the FDA to immediately review the study, which found increases in lymphomas, leukemias, and breast cancers in rats fed aspartame. If the FDA concludes that aspartame does cause cancer in animals, the agency is required by law to revoke its approval for the controversial sweetener. (8)

However, the FDA has previously resisted attempts for more rigorous analysis of the sweetener for many years.

According to a 1996 report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the FDA rejected repeated proposals by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to test aspartame using more modern methods than were originally used. David Rall, the former director of NIEHS and its National Toxicology Program, said, “any compound that is that widely used needs to be retested with modern methods every once in a while.”

The State of California, too, has urged new testing of aspartame.


The State is also currently involved in a ballot proposition, Proposition 19 which takes place on November 2, 2010.

Proposition 19, also known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, if approved by voters, will legalize various marijuana-related activities, allow local governments to regulate these activities and permit local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes.(9)

A related proposition won approval on November 5, 1996 when fifty-six percent of voters approved Proposition 215.  It removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a “written or oral recommendation” from their physician that he or she “would benefit from medical marijuana.”

Patients diagnosed with any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been “deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician” are afforded legal protection under this act. Conditions typically covered by the law include, but are not limited to;

  • arthritis
  • cachexia
  • cancer
  • chronic pain
  • HIV or AIDS
  • epilepsy
  • migraine and,
  • multiple sclerosis.

Over twenty major studies in the past nine years have shown that cannabinoids (the chemicals in cannabis) actually fight cancer cells. In fact, it’s been shown that cannabinoids arrest cancer growths of many different forms of cancer, including brain, melanoma and breast cancer. There’s even growing evidence that cannabinoids cause direct anti-tumor activity.(10)

A 2007 study by the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology in Rostock, Germany focused on human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells. The cells were treated with specific cannabioids and Tetrahydrocannabinol, (THC)  the main psychoactive substance found in the cannabis plant. Even at low concentrations,  THC  “led to a decrease in invasion of  68.1 percent”. (11)

Marijuana has also been linked to stress reduction.

Scientific America reports a little stress can do us good—it pushes us to compete and innovate. But chronic stress can increase the risk of diseases such as depression, heart disease and even cancer. Studies have shown that stress might promote cancer indirectly by weakening the immune system’s anti-tumor defense or by encouraging new tumor-feeding blood vessels to form. But a new study published April 12 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that stress hormones, such as adrenaline, can directly support tumor growth and spread.(13)

Psychiatrist Tod Mikuriya, M.D., says,

“Continued use [of marijuana] exhibits a much more controlled pattern of mood management through a mild stimulation with low repeated inhaled doses.” (14)

Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette called a joint, or in a pipe, bong or bottle.

homemade ice bong from Sprite bottles

In 2010, Sprite modified the opening to its 600mL bottles in order that it could no longer be used as a means to smoke cannabis.  Are they concerned about the harmful effects of Marijuana smoke? (15)

People who smoke marijuana regularly may have many of the respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These problems include daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illnesses, a heightened risk of lung infections and a greater tendency toward obstructed airways. In fact, more cancer-causing agents have been found in Marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke.(16)

Marijuana Soda Provides a High Without the Smoke

However, there is a new development by sodas that have an usual ingredient: marijuana.one Colorado soda company which has produced a line of sodas that have an unusual ingredient: marijuana. Dixie Elixirs has made their drinks available to anyone with a prescription for medical marijuana.

Home grown in Colorado, Dixie Elixirs carbonated beverage provides an organic alternative for patients seeking a refreshing, but equally potent, alternative to smoke and tinctures.

“Formulated from a carefully cultivated blend of the finest Sativa-dominant buds, Dixie Elixirs delivers the potency that patients want in a soothing, sparkling beverage.”

The company states;

  • Colorado-grown to complement the Rocky Mountain lifestyle
  • Easy to enjoy with discretion
  • Consistently delicious, reliably potent
  • Relieves a wide range of symptoms
  • Use alone or to increase and enhance other MMJ medication
  • Carbonation delivers relief faster
  • 12-ounce recyclable bottles in seven refreshing flavors: lemonade, sweet tea, pink lemonade, strawberry, orange, grape and root beer
  • Also available in extra-strength 1-ounce watermelon and spearmint “dew drop” bottles

Who knows, if Proposition 19 is adopted, Coca-Cola might introduce another version of Sprite.  This time with a very special ingredient added.  Perhaps then we can all enjoy the health benefits of marijuana and a ‘High Without the Smoke’.

Coca-Cola: Pollution in a Bottle?

Nazis, Human Experimentation and Diet Coke

Cancer is a Man Made Disease

Disclaimer The site does not provide medical or legal advice. This Web site is for information purposes only.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site.  If you need legal advice for your specific problem, you should consult a licensed attorney in your area.

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