A recent scientific review concludes that marijuana’s legal status should be revisited given existing research that shows cannabis’s components can inhibit tumor growth and help with cancer management.
Researchers at Amity University in India detailed the scientific literature surrounding the effects of cannabinoids on different cancer types and also looked at marijuana’s anti-nausea, appetite stimulation, and pain-relieving qualities.
Besides treating symptoms of chemotherapy side effects, cannabis also shows potential in slowing the growth of cancer cells and even kill cancer cells in certain cases, the researchers wrote.
But that’s not all. â€śApart from exerting palliative effects, THC also shows promising roles in the treatment of cancer growth, neurodegenerative diseases (multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease), and alcohol addiction and hence should be exploited for potential benefits,â€ť stated an abstract of the study, published in the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics.
The majority of the studies that were reviewed were based on in vitro experiments, meaning they did not involve human subjects but rather isolated cancer cells from humans, while some of the research used mice.
THC also shows promising role in the treatment of cancer growth, neurodegenerative diseases (multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease), and alcohol addiction and hence should be exploited for potential benefits.
THC also shows promising role in the treatment of cancer growth, neurodegenerative diseases (multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease), and alcohol addiction and hence should be exploited for potential benefits. Click To Tweet
Cannabinoids appear to â€śexert potent [anti-growth] activity and activate various apoptotic mechanisms eventually leading to cell deathâ€ť of cancer cells associated with glioma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.
At least once clinical trial showed that patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme who were treated with a â€śproprietary combination of THC and CBDâ€ť in addition to a traditional pharmaceutical had a higher one-year survival rate (83%) compared with a placebo group (53%).
Another study found blood cancer cells that were treated with two synthetic endocannabinoids activated receptors that â€śmediated apoptosis,â€ť orÂ cell death.
In certain cell lines of prostate cancer, similar findings were observed. There was â€ś[s]ignificant cell growth inhibition followed by apoptosisâ€ť in one particular cancer cell type in a â€śstudy which was designed to evaluate the in vitro effects of endocannabinioids such as 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, anadamine, and its synthetic analog methazolamide.â€ť
Less research has been conducted on the effects of cannabis on lung, breast, oral and liver cancers, but the study authors documented instances where mice with certain lung cancer types treated with THC experienced a â€śnotable reduction of the subcutaneous tumor growth and lung metastasisâ€ť of those cells, â€śprompting its significance as a novel therapeutic molecule in lung cancer treatment.â€ť
But while THC is a common study focus, other cannabinoids show particular potential in treating different cancer types, they found. For example, a synthetic cannabidiol (CBD) compound, 940-CBD, was the most effective â€śin terms of antiproliferative effects and invasivenessâ€ť of a particular breast cancer cell line.
When treated with THC, an oral cancer cell line that’s â€śhighly resistant to anticancer drugs,â€ť showed increased â€ścellular respiration inhibition,â€ť whereas another conventional treatment option â€śshowed no such effect.â€ť
While researchers have investigated a wide range of cancer treatments, â€śthe utilization of THC and their derivatives is still unexplored pharmacologically owing to their ‘habit-forming’ nature,â€ť the researchers concluded. â€śSpecific targeting of cannabinoid receptors can be used to manage severe side effects during chemotherapy, palliative care, and overall cancer management.â€ť
â€śFurthermore, research evidences on cannabinoids have suggested tumor inhibiting and suppressing properties which warrant reconsidering legality of the substance,â€ť they said. â€śStudies on [cannabinoid] receptors, in case of cancers, have demonstrated the psychoactive constituents of cannabinoids to be potent against tumor growth.â€ť
Because the activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors â€śtends to limit human cancer cell growth,â€ť there may be a â€śrole of the endocannabinoid system as a novel target for treatment of cancersâ€ť and â€ś[f]urther explorations are required to exploit cannabinoids for an effective cancer management.â€ť
The growing data on marijuana’s ability to inhibit cell growth and kill cancer cells indicates that it should be a major area of research going forward.
The findings reflect another recent study that also explored the therapeutic potential of cannabis extracts in the treatment of cancers. Like this new review, it demonstrated that while variation in cannabinoids that are used to treat distinct cancer cell lines is an important consideration, the growing data on marijuana’s ability to inhibit cell growth and kill cancer cells indicates that it should be a major area of research going forward.
This article was republished under a content syndication agreement with Marijuana Moment. Read the original article here.Â
Feature image: While cannabis has been used to treat cancer patients for the side effects of chemotherapy, researchers from Amity University in India theorize that cannabinoids may also help to inhibit growth of tumors themselves.Â Â