Cannabis is advertised by many as a pain reliever. But a new research made at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute and published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics goes much further: a cannabis chemical could impede breast cancer from 'invading' the whole body.
Cannabidiol (CBD) could be an alternative to chemotherapy
devoid of the extreme side effects, like nausea and high infection risk, and the chemical by itself has no psychoactive activity, so its use would not be a law violation (the main culprit for the hallucinogenic effects of the cannabis is THC (delta- 9- tetrahidrocannabinol).
Still, the team stressed that smoking marijuana or hashish would not be a solution, as their CBD levels are ineffective.
CBD shuts off the Id-1 gene, connected to metastasis (the aggressive spread of cancer cells out of the original tumor location). Previous researches revealed that CBD can stop aggressive human brain cancers. Now CBD was found to act similarly on lab cultivated breast cancer cells.
"Right now we have a limited range of options in treating aggressive forms of cancer. Those treatments, such as chemotherapy, can be effective but they can also be extremely toxic and difficult for patients. This compound offers the hope of a non-toxic therapy that could achieve the same results without any of the painful side effects," said lead researcher Dr Sean McAllister.
"The findings will need to be followed up with clinical trials in humans to see if the CBD is safe, and whether the beneficial effects can be replicated. Several cancer drugs based on plant chemicals are already used widely, such as vincristine - which is derived from a type of flower called Madagascar Periwinkle and is used to treat breast and lung cancer. It will be interesting to see whether CBD will join them.", Dr. Joanna Owens of Cancer Research UK said BBC News.