AllGov A leading federal research institute has acknowledged medical research showing chemicals in marijuana can help fight certain forms of brain cancer.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) said in an April report (pdf) that “recent animal studies have shown that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors. Research in mice showed that these extracts, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.”
The NIDA was referencing a study from St. George’s University of London that reported two marijuana chemicals, THC and CBD, made radiation treatment more effective for patients with high-grade glioma masses, a fatal form of brain cancer.
“We’ve shown that cannabinoids could play a role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers in adults,” one of the study’s lead authors, Dr. Wai Liu, wrote in an op-ed. “The results are promising…it could provide a way of breaking through glioma and saving more lives.”
Lui’s medical marijuana study, which was published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapies, follows other British research that showed a combination of six purified cannabinoids can kill cancerous cells found in leukemia patients, according to ThinkProgress.
Although one government agency has acknowledged the benefits of medical marijuana, another appears to be immune from such persuasion. The Justice Department said last week that despite legislation ordering the department not to interfere with states that allow medical marijuana, the restriction doesn’t apply to people or organizations.