Researchers at Harvard University have demonstrated that lung cancer tumor growths can be cut in half thanks to the active ingredients found in cannabis. Studies were performed both in the lab and on mice. Not only did the cannabis stop the tumors from growing but it also decreases the chance of cancer spreading to other parts of the body.
The studies were the first in a series of experiments designed to demonstrate the efficacy of THC inhibiting the migration of EGF-induced growths that are resistant to existing cancer treatments like Chemotherapy.
Dr. Anju Preet, a researcher at Harvard’s Experimental Medicine division said,
The beauty of this study is that we are showing that a substance of abuse, if used prudently, may offer a new road to therapy against lung cancer.
What The Study Revealed:
The body’s natural endocannabinoids (in addition to THC) that act through receptors CB1 and CB2 have been found to play a crucial role in a wide range of biological functions, including pain and anxiety management and inflammation. While Marinol (a derivative of THC) is already approved as an appetite stimulant in cancer patients and a few states in the U.S. condone the use of medical marijuana for treating the side effects of cancer, very few studies before this one have proven that THC can stop tumors from growing.
In Harvard’s recent experiment, researchers demonstrated that non-toxic doses of THC stopped tumors growing and spreading in the cell lines. Dr. Preet explained that when cancerous cells are pretreated with THC, there is less EGFR stimulated invasion, meaning that THC is a valuable component in destroying cancer.
While the research team involved in the studies is not yet able to confirm exactly why THC stops tumors growing, they suspect that it could be responsible for arresting the cell cycle by activating the responsible molecules. Further speculation suggests that THC could also be capable of interfering with angiogenesis and vascularization, which encourages cancer to grow and spread.
Preet has stated that further investigation is necessary to clarify precisely how THC functions to inhibit cancer growth and also warns that certain studies performed on animals have shown that THC can stimulate certain types of cancers. She added that while THC is showing positive signs of being an effective cancer treatment, there is still a lot of work to be done before its true potential can be confirmed.