Can Cannabis Kill Cancer Cells?
There is currently an overwhelming amount of evidence suggesting that cannabinoids may kill cancer in humans. For the past several years, an increasing number of patients have been reporting that ingesting or applying cannabis-based extracts topically eliminated their cancers.
Cases of terminal cancer patients going into remission are documented, along with many non-terminal cases. Photographic evidence has shown many skin cancers disappear with topical application as well.
Moreover, scientific research indicates not only that cannabinoids can kill virtually any kind of cancer cell, but that the human body may be programmed for these compounds to do so.
Studies Suggest Cannabis May Treat A Variety Of Cancerous Cells
Many of us are familiar with a few key studies suggesting cannabinoids have anticancer potential. There was the 1974 University of Virginia study which found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) slowed Lewis lung adenocarcinoma and leukemia growth in a dose-dependent relationship.
Dr. Manuel Guzmán’s research is also well known, particularly his 1998 studyshowing THC induced apoptosis in glioma cells and his 2005 study indicating THC could inhibit angiogenesis (the formation of blood vessels to tumors), which subsequently reduced mouse gliomas.
A 2007 Harvard Study has also been cited extensively. It demonstrated THC inhibited multiple non-small cell lung cancer lines and reduced tumor weight and volume in mice by 50%. Breast cancer has also gotten significant attention, mainly regarding Dr. Sean McAllister’s studies on cannabidiol (CBD)inhibiting the spread of breast cancer.
A 2006 study by Guzmán in Cancer Research found that THC could induce apoptosis in multiple pancreatic cancer cell lines, a significant finding given how aggressive pancreatic cancer in particular can be. A 2003 study showed activation of cannabinoid receptors induced skin cancer cell death.
A September 1999 study in FEBS Letters found THC induced apoptosis in the PC3 line of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer was further explored, along with colon cancer, in a November 2011 Anticancer Research study. The researchers of this study found the compound cause cell death in each type of cancer cell.
Studies Link Marijuana To Cancerous Cell Death
The first thing any skeptic will point out is that cell studies do not always transfer to humans, which is indeed the case with many potential medicines. However, the scientific literature also seems to indicate that the human body may be programmed to kill cancer cells with cannabinoids.
This claim is first evidenced by the fact that endocannabinoids also kill cancer cells. Endocannabinoids like anandamide are produced within the human body. Interestingly, anandamide is similar to THC and they affect a number of the same cancer cells.
A June 2003 study published in Prostatedemonstrated anandamide induced apoptosis in multiple prostate cancer cell lines. A February 2006 study found anandamide inhibited the spread of breast cancer cells.
Even further, another study published in October 2011 found that three endocannabinoids, including anandamide, reduced the viability of neuroblastoma cells in mice.
Cancer cells, at least some types, exhibit higher levels of cannabinoid receptors than healthy cells. This was determined in the 2006 Guzmán study on pancreatic cancer. The expression of more cannabinoid receptors can be characterized as a defense mechanism of the body against the spread of cancer.
If a healthy cell becomes cancerous, yet is programmed to create more cannabinoid receptors as a last resort, then the cell would become more susceptible to the apoptosis-inducing effects of anandamide. It is likely that anandamide is killing cancer cells before they have time to replicate and spread in humans.
Astoundingly, another study published in November 2006 found that liver cancer patients with higher expressions of CB1 and CB2 receptors had much better disease-free survival than patients with lower expressions.