New analysis from the University of London recommends compounds in marijuana could be used to fight leukaemia.
Written online in Anticancer Research, specialists at the Department of Oncology at St. George’s, University of London investigated six different cannabinoids and found each to have anti-cancer action on leukaemia cells.
Lead author Wai Liu, PhD described the results of the latest research in Monday’s press release.
“These factors are able to interfere with the growth of cancerous cells, preventing them in their tracks and stopping them from growing. In some cases, by using specific dosage patterns, they can destroy cancer cells on their own.”
The investigators were able to replicate previous conclusions on the anti-cancer effects of THC – the composite in marijuana responsible for the high.
Nevertheless, in the latest research, Dr Liu’s team chose to focus on cannabinoids that required psychoactive activity, including cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidivarin (CBGV).
“This research is a significant step in unpicking the mysteries of cannabis as a source of medicine. The cannabinoids examined have tokenish, if any, hallucinogenic side effects, and their properties as anti-cancer agents are promising.”
The non-psychoactive cannabinoids were shown to inhibit the growth of leukaemia cells at all stages of the cell cycle. Interestingly, the team perceived even greater effects when different cannabinoids were administered together.
Dr Liu says drugs obtained from cannabis are much cheaper to produce than traditional cancer therapies. He conjointly thinks they may be combined with existing treatments to boost their effects.
“Used together with existing treatment, we could discover some highly effective strategies for tackling cancer. Significantly, these composites are inexpensive to produce and making better use of their unique properties could result in much more cost effective anti-cancer drugs in future.”
Dr Liu’s next study can examine the potential of cannabinoids once combined with existing
treatments in addition as totally different treatment schedules that might maximize their anti-cancer activity.
The research was written ahead of print and obtained funding from GW Pharmaceuticals
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