Modified form of medical cannabis can kill or inhibit cancer cells
Laboratory tests at the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute have shown that a modified form of medicinal cannabis can kill or inhibit cancer cells without affecting normal cells, revealing its potential as a treatment rather than simply as a reliever medication. It is well known that the chemical compounds present in cannabis, especially the cannabidiol (CBD), are effective in treating the symptoms of many forms of cancer. It is now proven that it could potentially cure the disease by attacking cancer cells.
Cancer researcher Matt Dun of Newcastle University in Australia recently completed a three-year study showing that a specific modified strain of cannabis is destructive to certain types of cancer cells while remaining harmless to the body's own cells. human body.
according to a Press release from Newcastle University:
Laboratory tests conducted at Newcastle University and the Hunter Medical Research Institute have shown that a modified form of medicinal cannabis can kill or inhibit cancer cells without impacting normal cells, revealing its potential as a treatment rather than just a rescue medication.
The strain in question, named Eve, has been modified to contain less than 1% of the expected amount of THC, while having a very high amount of CBD.
Dun and his team worked with theAustralian Natural Therapies Group (ANTG) to develop the strain and perform the necessary tests to determine its potential as an intervention against cancer. According to Dun:
The ANTG wanted me to test it for cancer, so we used leukemia cells first and were really surprised at how sensitive they were. At the same time, cannabis did not kill normal bone marrow cells, nor normal, healthy neutrophils [white blood cells].
We then realized that a cancer screening mechanism was at play, and we have spent the last two years trying to find the answer.
The next steps will be to test the strain on other types of cancer cells and, hopefully, to convince regulators around the world to take cannabis testing seriously. Studies such as the one conducted by Dun are difficult to conduct in places where cannabis is still considered a dangerous and illegal drug, such as the United States where it remains classified as a Schedule 1 substance, next to heroin.
We've long known that cannabis is effective in treating many symptoms of cancer, but this is one of the first compelling evidence that CBD can kill cancer cells. If this research proves conclusive, we could consider an intervention for certain forms of cancer in a few decades. Best of all, low THC cannabis poses very little risk of side effects compared to almost any other promising current or experimental cancer intervention.
A three-year study is not enough to declare that the war on cancer is won. It will take peer review and a myriad of future studies to confirm the results and determine exactly why the Eve strain is effective.
In a recent article titled “Can Hemp Help,” published by the international journal Cancers, Dr Dun and his team also undertook a literature review of over 150 academic articles that examine the health benefits, side effects and possible anti-cancer benefits of CBD and THC.
“There are trials around the world that are testing cannabis formulations that contain THC as a cancer treatment, but if you take this therapy, your quality of life suffers,” says Dr Dun. “You can't drive, for example, and clinicians are rightly reluctant to prescribe something for a child that could cause hallucinations or other side effects.
“The CBD strain appears to have greater efficacy, lower toxicity and fewer side effects, potentially making it an ideal complementary therapy to combine with other anti-cancer compounds”.
The next phase of the study is to investigate what makes cancer cells sensitive and normal cells insensitive, whether it is clinically relevant, and whether various cancers respond.
“We have to understand the mechanism in order to find ways to add other drugs that amplify the effect, and week by week we are getting more and more clues. This is really exciting and important if we are to switch to therapeutic use, ”adds Dr Dun, pointing out that cannabis enriched with CBD is not yet ready for clinical use as an anti-cancer agent.
“We hope our work will help reduce the stigma associated with prescribing cannabis, especially strains that have minimal side effects, especially when used in combination with current standard therapies and radiation therapy. Until then, however, people should continue to see their usual doctor ”.
The study was funded by ANTG and HMRI through the Sandi Rose Foundation.
- Dr Matt Dun is from the University of Newcastle, and is doing his research in conjunction with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Cancer Program. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.