Cannabinoids Demonstrate Potential in Treating Brain Cancer

Cannabis plantAlthough medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states plus the District of Columbia, its use remains controversial. Opponents point to concerns about drug addiction, brain damage, and personality changes, while advocates argue that marijuana could help treat a number of afflictions. New research from St. George’s, University of London, offers another favorable piece of evidence for the pro-cannabis set. The latest research suggests that when combined with the right treatment, cannabis might help treat brain cancer.

Treating Brain Cancer with Cannabinoids

Marijuana is popularly known for its ability to get people high, but the plant contains more than 85 chemicals called cannabinoids. The human brain contains cannabinoid receptors that interact with these cannabinoids. Cannabinoids play a variety of roles, from altering mood to changing appetite.

Previous research has shown that cannabinoids may slow the growth of tumors. To evaluate cannabinoids’ effects on brain cancer, researchers tested two cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), on rats with high-grade glioma. This type of brain cancer is highly aggressive, with only 30% of patients surviving a year or longer.

The rats were divided into three groups. One group received irradiation treatment alone; the second group was treated with irradiation and cannabinoids; and a third group was treated only with cannabinoids. Researchers found that the group treated with both irradiation and cannabinoids saw a remarkable decrease in tumor growth. In some cases, tumors almost completely disappeared.

At some point, this research could mean better and more effective treatments for people with cancer. Of course, the study is preliminary since the research was done on rats. Researchers won’t be certain of how cannabinoids affect gliomas in people until they are able to study the effects of cannabinoids on people with brain cancer.

References:

  1. Gliomas and glioblastoma multiforme. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/gliomas-and-glioblastoma-multiforme
  2. Scott, K. A., Dalgleish, A. G., & Liu, W. M. (2014). The combination of cannabidiol and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol enhances the anticancer effects of radiation in an orthotopic murine glioma model. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Retrieved from http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2014/11/12/1535-7163.MCT-14-0402

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  • aurora

    aurora

    November 20th, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Are there currently any hold ups with trying out the drugs in an experimental realm? This seems to have a great deal of promise and I know that if I or a family member had the chance to be a part of a trial like this I would certainly have to be all in to give it a try.

  • Sonia

    Sonia

    November 20th, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I am going to very interested in hearing about this as the research into this area continues. There are so many people who see this as only bad, the pot effect so to speak, and think nothing of the medical benefits that the plant itself can actually provide. I am all for looking to holistic and more natural methods of healing, and this one does seem that it could be very promising.

  • Matthew M.

    Matthew M.

    November 20th, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    How were the cbd’s administered?

    Thank you

  • damien

    damien

    November 20th, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    if something can be used as a medicine then why not! but that does not mean that we need to open up stores across the country and sell it to people who walk in to buy for recreational purposes. cant hurt to use as a medicine but can hurt when used for other purposes.

  • Phillip

    Phillip

    November 22nd, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Damien I agree with you on everything that you have said. I think that it is wonderful that there is so much medical benefit to the plant but that doesn’t mean that this is something that is safe all across the board. I just see more and more problems opening up due to further legalization. There had to be a reason why this is illegal to begin with and I think that to go back on all of that now is a huge mistake.
    Let the health community use it for their means and purposes and for the things that will actually help to heal people, but not everyone needs to be introduced to a drug that can so easily become a gateway to other more harmful things.

  • Aiden

    Aiden

    November 29th, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    how can one community think that it is so useful and another find it so dangerous and harmful?

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