Yet another study detailing the positive medicinal benefits of marijuana is making headlines around the world. This time, the cannabis plant isn’t being hailed as a cure for glaucoma or back pain, but as a key weapon against the most feared disease of all: cancer.
A pair of scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco has found that a compound derived from marijuana could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, offering the first legitimate hope for a cancer cure since the quest began. How ironic that the potential cure could be found in a plant that we’ve kept illegal for decades!
Despite government claims to the contrary, multiple studies have shown that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient of marijuana, is the mortal enemy of the cancer cell. Still, not everyone that might like to utilize marijuana as a medicine is interested in getting high.
In 2007, Dr. Sean McAllister, a scientist at the Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco who has been studying cannabinoid compounds for 10 years, discovered that cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive component of the marijuana plant, is a potent inhibitor of breast cancer cell proliferation, metastasis and tumor growth.
Apparently, cannabidiol kills breast cancer cells and malignant tumors by switching off expression of the ID-1 gene, a protein that appears to play a major role as a cancer cell conductor. The researchers say CBD offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could treat aggressive forms of cancer without any of the painful side effects of chemotherapy.
The announcement has been hailed by marijuana legalization advocates as further proof that the government should stop restricting access to this medically-beneficial plant. Still, the researchers caution that just smoking a joint won’t cure cancer. ”We used injections in the animal testing and are also testing pills,” McAllister’s colleague, Pierre Desprez told the Huffington Post. “But you could never get enough Cannabidiol for it to be effective just from smoking.” Furthermore, the team has started synthesizing the compound in the lab instead of using the plant in an effort to make it more potent.
The team is hopeful that this development will allow clinical trials to advance right away. It’s possible that positive results with human, clinical trials could present the first ray of hope for those suffering from this deadly disease. Although development of a synthesized cannabidiol medication would still ultimately benefit Big Pharma and its government allies, it may also remove some of the unnecessary controversy that surrounds the use of medical marijuana to treat younger cancer patients.
Image via Thinkstock
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.