New research shows that marijuana components fight an aggressive form of brain cancer. And the media says – nothing, again.
Combining the two most common cannabinoid compounds in Cannabis may boost the effectiveness of treatments to inhibit the growth of brain cancer cells and increase the number of brain cancer cells that die off. That’s the finding of a new study published in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.
Marijuana components have been found to inhibit the growth of the most common, and aggressive form of brain tumor, a glioblastoma, according to a study published in the January 6 issue of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.
The study was done at the California Pacific Medical Center by researchers who combined a non-psychoactive ingredient of marijauna, cannabidiol (CBD), with Δ9-tetrahyrdocannabinol (Δ9-THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis. The findings demonstrated the inhibitory effect of these two ingredients on brain cancer cells when used together.
“Our study not only suggests that combining these two compounds creates a synergistic effect,” says Sean McAllister, Ph.D., a scientist at CPMCRI and the lead author of the study. “but it also helps identify molecular mechanisms at work here, and that may lead to more effective treatments for glioblastoma and potentially other aggressive cancers.”
“Previous studies had shown that Δ9-THC was effective in inhibiting brain cancer growth in cell cultures and in animal models and prompted a small clinical trial in Spain. There is also evidence that other compounds in Cannabis might prove effective against tumors, but limited scientific evidence is available,” the report stated.
The report cites Dr. McAllister as stating:
“Compared to using Δ9-THC alone against glioblastoma cell lines, the combination therapy of Δ9-THC and CBD showed a significant improvement in activity, both in slowing down the growth of those cells and also, and perhaps more importantly, in doubling the number of cancer cells which underwent apoptosis or programmed cell death.” (Source)
Abstract from Molecular Cancer Therapeutics:
The cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor agonist Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been shown to be a broad-range inhibitor of cancer in culture and in vivo, and is currently being used in a clinical trial for the treatment of glioblastoma. It has been suggested that other plant-derived cannabinoids, which do not interact efficiently with CB1 and CB29-THC. There are conflicting reports, however, as to what extent other cannabinoids can modulate Δ9-THC activity, and most importantly, it is not clear whether other cannabinoid compounds can either potentiate or inhibit the actions of Δ9-THC. We therefore tested cannabidiol, the second most abundant plant-derived cannabinoid, in combination with Δ9-THC. In the U251 and SF126 glioblastoma cell lines, Δ9-THC and cannabidiol acted synergistically to inhibit cell proliferation. The treatment of glioblastoma cells with both compounds led to significant modulations of the cell cycle and induction of reactive oxygen species and apoptosis as well as specific modulations of extracellular signal-regulated kinase and caspase activities. These specific changes were not observed with either compound individually, indicating that the signal transduction pathways affected by the combination treatment were unique. Our results suggest that the addition of cannabidiol to Δ9-THC may improve the overall effectiveness of Δ9-THC in the treatment of glioblastoma in cancer patients. receptors, can modulate the actions of Δ
The next step in the research is to carry out similar studies in animal models of aggressive brain cancer. Even if the synergistic effect is not evident in those studies, the combination treatments may allow for stronger doses to be given to patients due to non-overlapping toxicities and decrease development of resistance to the activity of Δ9-THC or CBD alone.
Despite the promising findings of the study the researchers point out that they are not a recommendation for people with brain cancer to smoke marijuana. They say it is highly unlikely that effective concentrations of either Δ9-THC or CBD could be reached by smoking cannabis.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Health and the SETH group.
Outside of the lab… Rick Simpson has been healing cancer with a formulation he calls “Hemp Oil”. His healing oil is created by a distillation process that extracts the cannabinoids (including THC, CBD and 78 others) from the cannabis/marijuana plant which can then be taken like a pill. Read more about that here. His home was recently raided for the second time and he remains in exile as the result of his work with cannabis.