A new study from St. George’s University of London, recently published in the International Journal of Oncology, shows that cannabinoids may be able to help bolster chemotherapy treatment by aiding in the reduction of tumor growth. The study was conducted on cancer cells in a lab and looked at the effect of different cannabinoids on tumor growth in cells. Cannabinoids, when used in association with chemotherapy, were able to help kill and reduce growth of leukemia cells.
The study found that when chemotherapy was administered before the cannabinoids, the cannabinoids were far more effective than when they were administered before chemotherapy. The cancer cells were more effectively limited in growth when cannabinoids were used, rather than with chemotherapy alone. Dr. Wai Liu, the lead researcher on the study, stated, “We have shown for the first time that the order in which cannabinoids and chemotherapy are used is crucial in determining the overall effectiveness of this treatment.” The researchers also made clear that the effects of the study could not be replicated with smoked cannabis, because smoking whole plant cannabis is different than the highly concentrated extracts used in this study.
This study provides increasing evidence to show that cannabis may have a large potential to help fight cancerous tumor growth. Many different organizations have been conducting studies and trials, including GW Pharmaceuticals, a UK based company that has become known for producing cannabis derived prescription medications. GW recently conducted a clinical trial to see how cannabinoids would effect patients with cancer.
Their clinical trial used a drug that contained both CBD and THC, in association with chemotherapy. The study showed that cannabis could help limit growth of cancer cells. The CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals, Justin Gover, stated that, “We believe that the signals of efficacy demonstrated in this study further reinforce the potential role of cannabinoids in the field of oncology.”
This new study, and the earlier one from GW Pharmaceuticals, show the potential efficacy of using cannabis to fight against cancer cell growth. There have also been other studies, particularly in rats and mice, which have shown that that cannabinoids may be able to inhibit tumor growth, particularly by blocking the development of blood vessels that aid in their growth.
Cannabis is also well known for its ability to be effective at helping reduce many symptoms of cancer. Cannabis can help cancer patients with insomnia, lack of appetite, and pain. These studies begin to show the potential for cannabis to help patients control their cancer, potentially beyond just symptom control. More studies are needed to test just how beneficial cannabis could be for patients, but the prospects are very promising. The increasing evidence indicates that cannabis may become a crucial part of a holistic cancer treatment because of its ability to improve quality of life and bolster chemotherapy treatment results.