Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, has the ability to target cancerous brain cells for destruction without causing any damage or leading to a negative effect. This finding was disclosed in a study conducted by researchers from the Complutense University in Madrid, and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
The involved researchers first conducted an experiment on mice that had been engineered for carrying out three different human brain cancer grafts. Thereafter, mice were injected with the molecule tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) near the tumor site once each day. THC appeared to stimulate the cancerous cells to engage in autophagy, which is a process in which cells start their own breakdown.
“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,” researcher Guillermo Velasco said.
The researchers, in a follow-up experiment, extracted and analyzed brain tissue from two patients with an aggressive form of brain cancer known as “recurrent glioblastoma multiforme.” The two patients were treated with tetrahydrocannabinol for either 26 or 30 days and then researchers extracted and analyzed another sample.
The researchers discovered that THC treatment leads to the death of cancerous cells but had no effect on healthy ones after evaluating the brain tissue under an electron microscope. In addition to that, researchers were also able to discover the signaling pathway by which THC acts. The findings opened up the possibility that cannabinoid research could yield “a new family of potential antitumoral agents,” the researchers wrote.
Marijuana Anti-Cancer Video: