Cannabinoids just as effective as THC with minimum or no side effects
The anti-cancer properties of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana
Cannabinoids are the bioactive components of the Cannabis plant that display a diverse range of therapeutic qualities. Depending on the particular plant, either THC or cannabidiol is the most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana. However, research on cannabinoids is limited.
Dr. Wai Liu, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, St. Georges University of London and colleagues investigated the activity of six cannabinoids used both alone and in combination in leukemic cells.
All of the cannabinoids had shown anti-cancer properties that were equally effective as THC and when cannabinoids were combined they showed an increased effect on cancer cell lines.
The researchers write “We suggest that the activities of some cannabinoids are influenced by treatment schedules; therefore, it is important to carefully select the most appropriate strategy in order to maximize their efficacy.”
"This study is a critical step in unpicking the mysteries of cannabis as a source of medicine. The cannabinoids examined have minimal, if any, hallucinogenic side effects, and their properties as anti-cancer agents are promising, said Dr. Liu.
He continues "These agents are able to interfere with the development of cancerous cells, stopping them in their tracks and preventing them from growing. In some cases, by using specific dosage patterns, they can destroy cancer cells on their own.”
Used in combination with existing treatment, we could discover some highly effective strategies for tackling cancer. Significantly, these compounds are inexpensive to produce and making better use of their unique properties could result in much more cost effective anti-cancer drugs in future."
The research team will begin examining these compounds in combination with anti-cancer treatments available and examine treatment schedules in order to determine methods that will maximize their efficiency.
The study examined two forms of cannabidiol (CBD), two forms of cannabigerol (CBG) and two forms of cannabigevarin (CBGV). These represent the most common cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant apart from THC.
This study is published in journal Anticancer Research.