Study Finds Cannabis Compounds Can Kill Cancer Cells

Study Finds Cannabis Compounds Can Kill Cancer Cells

cancerA scientist in the United Kingdom has found that compounds derived from marijuana can kill cancerous cells found in people with leukemia, a form of cancer that is expected to cause an estimated 24,000 deaths in the United States this year.

“Cannabinoids have a complex action; it hits a number of important processes that cancers need to survive,” study author Dr. Wai Liu, an oncologist at the University of London’s St. George medical school, told The Huffington Post. “For that reason, it has really good potential over other drugs that only have one function. I am impressed by its activity profile, and feel it has a great future, especially if used with standard chemotherapies.”

Liu’s study was recently published in the journal Anticancer Research. It was supported by funding from GW Pharmaceuticals, which already makes a cannabis-derived drug used to treat spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.

The study looked at the effects of six different non-psychoactive cannabinoids — compounds derived from marijuana that do not cause the “high” associated with its THC ingredient — when applied alone, and in combination, to leukemia cells. Cannabinoids displayed a “diverse range of therapeutic qualities” that “target and switch off” pathways that allow cancers to grow, Liu told U.S. News & World Report.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Liu stressed that that his research was built around the testing of the six purified cannabinoid forms — not traditional cannabis oil, which Liu described as “crude” in comparison and generally containing 80-100 different cannabinoids. “We do not really know which are the ones that will be anticancer and those that may be harmful,” Liu said.

During the study, Liu and his team grew leukemia cells in a lab and cultured them with increasing doses of the six pure cannabinoids, both individually and in combination with each other. His study says the six cannabinoids were CBD (Cannabidiol), CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid), CBG (Cannbigerol), CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid), CBGV (Cannabigevarin) and CBGVA (Cannabigevaric acid). Liu and his team then assessed the viability of the leukemia cells and determined whether or not the cannabinoids destroyed the cells or stopped them from growing.

Although promising, Liu also said that it remains unclear if the cannabinoid treatment would work on the 200-plus existing types of cancer.

“Cancer is an umbrella term for a range of diseases that fundamentally differ in their cellular makeup, [and] which occur as a result of disturbances to growth controls,” Liu said. “Chemotherapy works by disrupting these dysfunctional growth signals. Therefore, any cancers that have these profiles should respond to the chemotherapy. It just so happens that a number of cannabinoids can target these very same mechanisms that make cancer what it is, and so any cancer that exhibits these faults should respond well to cannabinoids. The flip side is, of course, that other cancers may not have these same genetic faults and so cannabinoids may not work as well.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 7.6 million people die from various forms of cancer each year worldwide.

When asked if smoking marijuana has the same or similar effects as ingesting the pure cannabinoid compounds he studied, Liu said he thinks it’s unlikely.

“Smoking cannabis introduces a number of potential problems,” Liu said. “First, the complex makeup of cannabis that contains about 80 bioactive substances means that the desired anticancer effect may be lost because these compounds may interfere with each other. Second, we see that delivering the drug either by injection or by a tablet would ensure the most effective doses are given. Smoking would be variable, and indeed the heat of the burning may actually destroy the useful nature of the compounds.”

In 2012, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that CBD (cannbidiol), a non-toxic, non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer.

The National Cancer Institute has also funded some research into cannabis and cancer, including a 2012 study that looked at the effects cannabis compounds have on slowing the progression of breast cancer, spokesman Michael Miller told U.S. News and World Report. However NCI has not funded research on the effects of cannabinoids on leukemia.

Liu stressed that much work is still needed, and said that finding support for marijuana-derived medicines can be polarizing.

“Although there is much promise, I struggle to find enough support to drive this work on,” Liu said. “The mention of cannabinoids can polarize the public, who understandably link cannabis smoking with cannabis-derived drugs.”

Liu told the Seattle PI’s Pot Blog that he hopes to start clinical trials involving humans in 12 to 18 months.

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TEDxTalks: The surprising story of medical Cannabis and pediatric epilepsy: Josh Stanley at TEDxBoulder 2013

TEDxTalks

The surprising story of medical Cannabis and pediatric epilepsy: Josh Stanley at TEDxBoulder 2013

Published on Oct 14, 2013

Josh will sift through the propaganda, fear and greed encompassing medical marijuana. Recently featured on CNN, Josh and his brothers developed a non-psychotropic strain of marijuana which is drastically reducing seizures for many pediatric epilepsy patients in Colorado. With millions facing life-threatening illnesses, Josh outlines the hurdles needed to effect social change and maps a path toward helping those who desperately need revolutionary medicine.

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Study shows non-hallucinogenic cannabinoids are effective anti-cancer drugs

medical-marijuanaNew research has shown that the non-hallucinogenic components of cannabis could act as effective anti-cancer agents.

The anti-cancer properties of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary hallucinogenic component of cannabis, has been recognised for many years, but research into similar cannabis-derived compounds, known as cannabinoids, has been limited.

The study was carried out by a team at St George’s, University of London. It has been published in the journal Anticancer Research.

The team, led by Dr Wai Liu and colleagues carried out laboratory investigations using a number of cannabinoids, either alone or in combination with each other, to measure their anti-cancer actions in relation to leukaemia.

Of six cannabinoids studied, each demonstrated anti-cancer properties as effective as those seen in THC. Importantly, they had an increased effect on cancer cells when combined with each other.

Dr Liu said: “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.

“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.”

This latest research is part of a growing portfolio of studies into the medicinal properties of cannabis by the research team at St George’s. The next step will be to examine in the laboratory these compounds in combination with existing anti-cancer treatments and study treatment schedules to identify strategies that will maximise their efficacy.

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.

Ends

Notes to Editors

For more information or interviews, contact St George’s, University of London Communications on 0208 725 1139 or at media@sgul.ac.uk.

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant from Central Asia that is grown in many parts of the world today. It is a controlled substance in the UK and is most commonly known as a recreational drug.

Cannabinoids are active chemicals in cannabis. They are also known more specifically as phytocannabinoids. There are 85 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. The main active cannabinoid in Cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The cannabis plant is known for its medicinal properties and has been used to relieve symptoms associated with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, anxiety, depression, and numerous other illnesses and conditions.

Read the full research paper in the journal Anticancer Researchhttp://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/33/10/4373.abstract

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Modesto dad turns to medical marijuana to save son diagnosed with Dravet’s Syndrome

jason.jadonMODESTO, Calif. (KCRA) —Jason David from Modesto chronicles the ups and downs with his 6-year-old son Jayden, who was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, on a Facebook page called Jason and Jayden’s Journey.

Jayden was diagnosed with Dravet, a rare form of epilepsy, when he was a baby. Since then, he has had seizures preventing him from walking, playing and living life.

“At one point Jayden had seizures 24 hours a day lasting an hour and a half,” David said. “I went to my doctor and said, ‘I don’t think Jayden is going to last, he can’t sleep, can’t eat, he hasn’t used the restroom, he can’t do anything.'”

David said his son has been taken away in an ambulance more than 40 times. He’s also taken 22 pills a day — 12 different kinds and none of them worked.

David said it got so bad that he wanted to kill himself and put a gun to his head.

But now, those thoughts are long gone.

As a last resort, David turned to medical marijuana. Specifically, a liquid form that contains a component known as CBD.

Jayden’s pediatrician prescribes it to Jayden and says the liquid form maintains medicinal qualities, while giving less of a high.

Jayden has been getting a few drops a day for the past two years and David said it’s been a remarkable difference.

Jayden is the most independent he’s ever been. He plays well, can walk and give his dad high fives, David said.

“(The) first day I gave him medical marijuana, thank God. (It was) the first day he went seizure free in his life,”he said.David said he wants to share his story to help other parents in the same situation.

He says parents need to educate themselves and do what’s right for their own children.

The father and son have been featured in numerous articles and television shows. Jason and Jayden will be featured as a small piece in a special about medical marijuana with Dr. Sanjay Gupta that airs Sunday on CNN.

Jayden’s pediatrician said he is seeing more children with autism and seizures who are benefiting from medical marijuana.

The doctor admits not a lot of studies have been done on medicinal marijuana, which is why doctors across the board may have differing opinions.

However, doctors at the University of California-San Francisco are now studying the affects the CBD component in medical marijuana has on epileptic children.

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Cured Too: A Cancer Story: A Film By David Triplett

Cured Too: A Cancer Story: A Film By David Triplett

This is a documentary of how myself and others cured our cancers using an alternative and controversial treatment: cannabis oil. It’s a proven fact that CBD and THC, two of many components in cannabis, shrink tumors and cure cancer. This documentary shows my cancer being cured and explores the history and politics of cannabis and cancer. You will also see samples of many antique cannabis medicine bottles.

Active Ingredient in Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells in Brain

LabNew research out of Spain suggests that THC — the active ingredient in marijuana — appears to prompt the death of brain cancer cells.

The finding is based on work with mice designed to carry human cancer tumors, as well as from an analysis of THC’s impact on tumor cells extracted from two patients coping with a highly aggressive form of brain cancer.

Explaining that the introduction of THC into the brain triggers a cellular self-digestion process known as “autophagy,” study co-author Guillermo Velasco said his team has isolated the specific pathway by which this process unfolds, and noted that it appears “to kill cancer cells, while it does not affect normal cells.”

Velasco is with the department of biochemistry and molecular biology in the School of Biology at Complutense University in Madrid. The findings were published in the April issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The Spanish researchers focused on two patients suffering from “recurrent glioblastoma multiforme,” a fast-moving form of brain cancer. Both patients had been enrolled in a clinical trial designed to test THC’s potential as a cancer therapy.

Using electron microscopes to analyze brain tissue taken both before and after a 26- to 30-day THC treatment regimen, the researchers found that THC eliminated cancer cells while it left healthy cells intact.

The team also was able, in what it described as a “novel” discovery, to track the signaling route by which this process was activated.

These findings were replicated in work with mice, which had been “engineered” to carry three different types of human cancer tumor grafts.

“These results may help to design new cancer therapies based on the use of medicines containing the active principle of marijuana and/or in the activation of autophagy,” Velasco said.

Outside experts suggested that more research is needed before advocating marijuana as a medicinal intervention for brain cancer.

Dr. John S. Yu, co-director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program in the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said the findings were “not surprising.”

“There have been previous reports to this effect as well,” he said. “So this is yet another indication that THC has an anti-cancer effect, which means it’s certainly worth further study. But it does not suggest that one should jump at marijuana for a potential cure for cancer, and one should not urge anyone to start smoking pot right away as a means of curing their own cancer.”

But that’s exactly what many brain cancer patients have been doing, said Dr. Paul Graham Fisher, the Beirne Family director of Neuro-Oncology at Stanford University.

“In fact, 40 percent of brain tumor patients in the U.S. are already using alternative treatments, ranging from herbals to vitamins to marijuana,” he said. “But that actually points out a cautionary tale here, which is that many brain cancer patients are already rolling a joint to treat themselves, but we’re not really seeing brain tumors suddenly going away as a result, which we clearly would’ve noticed if it had that effect. So we need to be open-minded. But this suggests that the promise of THC might be a little over-hoped, and certainly requires further investigation before telling people to go out and roll a joint.”

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter
April 2

More information

For additional details on the risks and benefits of marijuana use as it relates to cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute or the American Cancer Society.

SOURCES: Guillermo Velasco, Ph.D., department of biochemistry and molecular biology, School of Biology, Complutense University, Madrid; John S. Yu, M.D., co-director, Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program, Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles; Paul Graham Fisher, M.D., associate professor, neurology, pediatrics, and neurosurgery and human biology and the Beirne Family Director of Neuro-Oncology, Stanford University; April 2009, The Journal of Clinical Investigation

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Cannabidiol (CBD) “Turns Off” the Cancer Gene Involved in Metastasis Findings by Scientists at California Pacific Medical Center gives Scientific Support for Cannabis Science Initiatives

products_overviewNew studies by Scientists at California Pacific Medical Center, have shown that cannabidiol, (CBD), has the ability to “turn off” a gene that causes breast and other types of cancers to metastasize, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

NBC News reports, “The drug “has been shown to reduce pain and nausea” in cancer patients. AIDS patients also use cannabis to eat, sleep and otherwise be more functional. Turns out that cannabidiol has none of the psychotropic effects of marijuana as a whole. The researchers hope to move to clinical trials on humans soon to test the cannabidiol inhibition of metastasis, reported in the San Francisco Chronicle. “What they found is that the cannabinoid turns off the overexpression of ID-1, which makes the cells lose their ability to travel to distant tissues. In other words, it keeps the cells more local and blocks their ability to metastasize. (spread to a new location) The researchers stressed cannabidiol works only on cancer cells that have these high levels of ID-1 and these do not include all cancerous tumors but, rather, aggressive, metastatic cells. But they’ve found such high levels in leukemia, colorectal, pancreatic, lung, ovarian, brain and other cancers.”

Cannabis Science appreciates this additional scientific support that this report provides for our two target drug development programs as the Company moves forward with CS-TATI-1, and based on the success of previous skin cancer patients who self-administered cannabis-based treatments, the Company is focusing on the use of CS-S/BCC-1 topical cannabis-based preparations for the treatment of basal and squamous cell carcinomas.

Dr. Robert Melamede states, “Cannabis Science is excited for the increasing scientific support for our projects. In the near future, we will share new developments, as well a the progress we have made with our earlier defined initiatives. Our professional expansion and development, as detailed in our latest news releases,was driven by the science of how cannabinoids can benefit both HIV/AIDS and Cancer Patients.”

San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Pot-compound-seen-as-tool-against-cancer-3875562.php#page-1

About CS-S/BCC-1

Cannabis Science is currently working with CBR International to develop a Pre-IND Application to the FDA that focuses on the use of CS-S/BCC-1 topical cannabis-based preparations for the treatment of basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Cannabis Science has already seen success with 4 self-medicated skin cancer patients. These patients have been self-administering using cannabis-based extracts applied topically to their carcinomas and tumors. These patients have experienced shrinking and apparent eradication of their skin cancer, backed by positive reports from their doctors, which is why the Company is confident about the eminent success of this new drug to be developed.

About CS-TATI-1

Data published in March by researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that cannabinoids inhibit TAT induced migration to TAT via cannabinoid 2 receptors (CB2). Funding for the Mount Sinai study was provided by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award Grant. Cannabis Science’s research of CS-TATI-1 will be targeted to newly diagnosed patients infected with drug resistant virus, treatment experienced patients with drug-resistant HIV strains, and those intolerant of currently available therapies. Cannabis Science will be pursuing a wide range of NIH based Federal Research Programs such as RO1’s, PO1’s and SBIRS which exist to support preclinical development of target validation and proof of concept studies. Cannabis Science will be pursing implementation of these studies through collaborations with leading scientific institutions. Cannabis Science will also be pursuing other clinical research collaborations including the AIDS Clinical Trials Groups (ACTG), the Canadian AIDS Trial Network (CATN) and the European AIDS Trial Network (EATN).

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