A brand new study published in the journal “Molecular Cancer Therapeutics” has taken aim at the ability of cannabinoids to inhibit the spread of a certain type of brain cancer known as glioblastoma. It was the kind of cancer that ended Senator Ted Kennedy’s life.
Cannabidiol Enhances the Inhibitory Effects of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Human Glioblastoma Cell Proliferation and Survival
We observed that plant-derived cannabinoids inhibit the proliferation of human glioblastoma cell lines. Compared with Δ9-THC, cannabidiol was significantly more potent at inhibiting cancer cell growth. This finding is in agreement with studies using models of aggressive breast cancers. Δ9-THC is currently being used in a clinical trial for treatment of recurrent glioblastoma.
… Compared with individual drug treatments with specific cannabinoid-based compounds, may represent an improvement for the treatment of patients with glioblastoma and perhaps additional cancers. It is also possible that other constituents of C. sativa that are not structurally related to cannabinoids could improve antitumor activity when combined. An important next step will be to carry out studies testing for synergistic antitumor activity of cannabinoids in additional pre-clinical models of glioblastoma. Even if synergism is not evident, combination treatments may allow for increased dosing due to nonoverlapping toxicities and decrease the development of resistance to the activity of Δ9-THC or cannabidiol when administered alone. With the growing evidence showing cannabinoids are effective inhibitors of multiple types of cancer, it is likely that additional clinical trials will be carried out. Combination treatments with cannabinoids may improve overall efficacy in these future clinical trials.
This is incredible news that may lead to further breakthroughs in cancer research. However, as exciting as this is, we’d be remiss in not mentioning that the government had conducted trials at the University of Virginia, funded by grants from the National Institute of Health, back in 1974 showing that cannabis had promise as an anti-cancer therapy. The research was buried by our government, which even tried to get researchers to destroy any reports or evidence that the “demon reefers” might actually be beneficial. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, research into cannabis’ anti-tumoral properties was stymied at every turn, as Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton escalated the War on (Certain American Citizens Using Non-Pharmaceutical, Non-Alcoholic, Tobacco Free) Drugs.
Imagine if we were reading this abstract in 1980, not 2010. Imagine the lives that might have been extended or saved with thirty more years of research.