Cannabis has long been used to relieve cancer symptoms and the side effects of chemotherapy. But until recently there was little evidence that it could actually affect the course of the disease.
Now, new lab research shows that CBD and THC—the two biologically active compounds in cannabis—have potential in preventing and treating cancer.
Scientists at Colorado State University tested CBD (cannabidiol) against glioblastoma brain cancer cells. It is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Glioblastoma grows and spreads quickly.
The researchers found that CBD is toxic to glioblastoma cells. Researcher Chase Gross said: “Our work shows that CBD has the potential to provide an effective, synergistic glioblastoma therapy.”
Scientists believe that CBD targets cancer cells’ mitochondria. These are the cells’ energy-producing structures. CBD caused mitochondria to malfunction, killing the cancer.
CBD Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth
The results confirm those from a previous review in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. It found that CBD inhibits at least five types of cancer cells in the lab: brain, breast, lung, leukemia, and colon.
The researchers concluded: “On the basis of these results, evidence is emerging that CBD is a potent inhibitor of both cancer growth and spread.”
Unlike chemotherapy, CBD has no toxic effects on healthy cells. The researchers now plan to test CBD in animals with glioblastoma before eventually trying it in humans. Although it is derived from cannabis, CBD does not make users high.
Another recent lab study found that THC—the component of marijuana that does make you high—may prevent colon cancer.
Researchers at the University of South Carolina gave THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) to mice suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
IBD is an umbrella term that includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both are caused by chronic inflammation of the intestines. And both greatly increase the risk of colon cancer.
The mice treated with THC had less inflammation than those in the placebo group. And none of the mice getting THC got colon cancer. Meanwhile, many of the animals getting a placebo developed colon tumors.
Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti was the senior study author. “THC prevents inflammation in the colon and at the same time inhibits the development of colon cancer,” he said.
Dr. Nagarkatti explained that THC works by binding to proteins called cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2). CB2 receptors are found on immune cells throughout the gut. When THC binds with CB2, it prevents immune cells from producing the chronic inflammation that causes colitis and Crohn’s.
The study “supports the notion that inflammation and colon cancer are closely linked,” he said.
Editor’s Note: If you’re worried about cancer, you need to read our monthly journal Independent Healing. It’s your best source for unbiased, evidence-based medical advice.
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