Research spanning more than a decade has shown that specific compounds like THC and CBD found in the cannabis plant have exhibited very marked anti-tumor properties and when used together these compounds present in Marijuana can kill cancer cells or can assist in reducing/ inhibiting tumor develop. It works especially well with cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.
How does Marijuana kill cancer cells?
These cannabinoids specifically target the cancer cells but are harmless to the normal healthy cells.
The SETH Group, which features an interdisciplinary group of scientists looking into testing promising therapies which can be used with the available cancer treatments, says that:
When THC interacts with some specific receptors on the cell surface then it triggers a reaction on the inside of the cell. This reaction is different between normal cells and cancer affected cells because, in the latter case of the cancer cells, it leads to cell death while the former remains unaffected. So Marijuana kills cancer cells.
The difference has been surmised due to two things:
- More numbers of receptors present on the outside of cancer cells.
- A different type of reaction which happens inside of the cancer cells, when compared to the normal ones.
A cancer researcher, Dr. Cristina Sanchez, wrote in 1998 that this selective cell killing method of cannabinoids is in contrast to chemotherapy, which shows no mercy or discrimination while eliminating. She also mentions that the tumor cells undergo apoptosis or programmed cell death where the cells commit suicide.
Let’s talk about the Other Cancer Fighting Qualities of Cannabis:
Other actions include inhibiting the cell growth and development of new blood vessels. Otherwise, this feeds tumours and spreads cancer.
There are two more results of its actions:
- A 2014 study showed that CBD enhanced the chances of tumor cells sticking to the killer white blood cells, which are called LAK cells and this led to cell destruction. The presence of a sticky protein called ICAM-1 helped in carrying this out as its production increased with CBD and so it was able to decrease the invasiveness and metastasizing ability of cancer cells.
- Another 2014 study showed that two more cannabinoid cell receptors known as CB2 and GPR55, are responsible for the anti-tumor effects.
Dr. Wan Liu of St. George University says that these naturally produced cannabis works and impacts the same pathways which the drugs that cost billions also work on. In a 2013 study which tested six different cannabinoids along with their effects on leukemia cells, Dr. Liu observed that these compounds first targeted and then switched off the pathways which allow cancer to grow.
So basically, Marijuana kills cancer cells at less cost and with better efficacy. This (among others) makes him optimistic about the future of cannabis-based medicine.
Before using THC and CBD rich oils as part of a regimen, please do contact doctors and get different opinions on it so as to get the best-informed science-based treatment possible.