Non-Toxic Alternative To Chemotherapy Offered By Pot Compound

According to preclinical data published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, the spread of breast cancer is inhibited by administration of the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD).

Cannabidiol limits the activity of the breast cancer metastasis gene Id-1, as per investigators at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute. It was also noted by the researchers that CBD down-regulated Id-1 expression in human breast cancer cells more effectively than did the administration of the cannabinoids THC, CBG (cannabigerol), and CBN (cannabinol) and/or the synthetic cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2.

“Cannabidiol offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could [treat aggressive forms of cancer] without any of the painful side effects [of chemotherapy,] lead researcher Sean McAllister said.

It was added by the investigators that CBD may potentially moderate the spread of other common forms of cancers, including colon cancer and prostate cancer, by modulating similar pathways.

Researchers at Italy’s Instuto di Chemica Biomolecolare previously reported that administration of CBD moderated the spread of breast cancer cells by triggering apoptosis (programmed cell death).

The study, “Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells,” appeared in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

Cannabinoids Counteract Prostate Cancer Growth

According to preclinical data to be published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, proliferation and selectively trigger cell suicide of prostate carcinoma is inhibited by the administration of non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids, in particular cannabidiol (CBD).

The anti-cancer properties of various non-psychoactive synthetic and botanical cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol) and THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), in vivo and in vitro (in culture) were assessed by an international team of investigators from Italy and the United Kingdom.

Researchers reported, “The data presented here allow us to suggest that non-THC cannabinoids, and CBD in particular, retard proliferation and cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) of prostate carcinoma growth via a combination of cannabinoid receptor-independent cellular and molecular mechanisms. We suggest that non-THC cannabinoids might provide the basis for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of prostate carcinoma.”

Authors of the study concluded, “The effects reported here, together with previously reported cannabinoid receptor-mediated effects of THC on PCCs (prostate carcinoma cells), might provide momentum to clinical studies on cannabinoids and cannabis extracts as a therapy for human prostate carcinoma, either in addition to currently used treatments, or as stand alones, as suggested also by our present in vivo data.”

A separate study of cannabinoids on prostate cancer that was published in the present edition of the Indian Journal of Neurology also concluded, “Prostate cancer cells possess increased expression of both cannabinoid 1 and 2 receptors, and stimulation of these results decrease in cell viability, increased apoptosis, and decreased androgen receptor expression and prostate-specific antigen excretion. It is our conclusion that it would be of interest to conduct clinical trials involving medicinal cannabis or other cannabinoid agonists, comparing clinical markers such as PSA with controls, especially in men with bone metastatic prostate cancer, whom would not only benefit from the possible anti-androgenic effects of cannabinoids but also from analgesia of bone pain, improving quality of life, while reducing narcotic consumption and preventing opioid dependence.”

The study “Non-THC cannabinoids counteract prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms,” appeared in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Brain Cancer Cell Death Induced By Marijuana

Combined administration of the pharmaceutical agent temozolomide (TMZ) and THC exhibits strong anti-cancer activity in brain tumors resistant to conventional anti-cancer treatments, according to preclinical data published online in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

The anti-tumor activity of the cannabinoids THC and CBD (cannabidiol) in glioma xenografts (tissue grafts) was assessed by investigators at Complutense University in Spain. It was reported by the authors that the administration of TMZ (the benchmark agent for the management of glioblastoma) in combination with THC “enhanced autophagy” (programmed cell death) in malignant tissue. The combined administration of THC, CBD, and TMZ “remarkably reduced the growth of glioma xenografts … [and] produced a strong antitumoral action in both TMZ-sensitive and TMZ-resistant tumors.”

They concluded, “Altogether, our findings support that the combined administration of TMZ and cannabinoids could be therapeutically exploited for the management of GBM (gliobastoma multiforme).”

A pilot study in 2006 that was published in the British Journal of Cancer reported that the intratumoral administration of THC was linked with minimized tumor cell proliferation in two of nine human subjects with GBM that is highly resistant to conventional anti-cancer treatments.

The study, “A Combined Preclinical Therapy of Cannabinoids and Temozolomide against Glioma,” appeared in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

Cancer & Marijuana summary

Neurogenesis In Brain Promoted By Cannabinoids

According to preclinical trial data published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, the administration of synthetic cannabinoids is related to the proliferation of newborn neurons (nerve cells) in the rat brain which likely accounts for the anti-anxiety and mood elevating effects of the drug.

It was found by the investigators in a study titled, “Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and depressant-like effects” that administering synthetic cannabinoids increased neurogenesis in the rat hippocampus and significantly minimized measures of anxiety and depression-like behavior.

“Cannabinoids appear to be the only illicit drug whose capacity to produce increased hippocampal newborn neurons is positively correlated with its anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects,” authors concluded.

“These findings add to the growing body of scientific evidence indicating that cannabis is non-toxic and may hold significant neurological benefits, including the treatment of certain neurologic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,” NORML Senior Policy Analyst Paul Armentano said.

Research in the past had shown cannabinoids to be neuroprotective in animals against brain damage caused by alcohol and/or stroke.

Cannabinoids Useful For Treating Many Health Conditions

According to a just published review in the German scientific journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, scientific findings from over hundred controlled clinical trials that involved either cannabis or its constituents provide “clear evidence that cannabinoids are useful for the treatment of various medical conditions.”

Over 100 controlled trials assessing the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoids were reviewed by investigators from the nova-Institute and the Hannover Medical School in Germany.

It was reported by the researchers, “Knowledge about the therapeutic potential of cannabis products has been greatly improved by a large number of clinical trials in recent years. … There is now clear evidence that cannabinoids are useful for the treatment of various medical conditions,” including chronic neuropathy (nerve pain), multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, and other indications.

Investigators determined regarding safety profile of cannabis and cannabinoids by saying, “The most common side effects of cannabinoids are tiredness and dizziness (in more than ten percent of patients), psychological effects, and dry mouth. Tolerance to these side effects nearly always develops within a short time. Withdrawal symptoms are hardly ever a problem in the therapeutic setting.”

However, the authors did reported that cannabis may pose additional health risks for adolescents and/or pregnant or breast-feeding women, as well as individuals diagnosed with Hepatitis C, severe cardiovascular disease, addictive disorders, or those vulnerable to certain psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.

Investigators noted, “Patients who take cannabinoids at a constant dosage over an extensive period of time often develop tolerance to the impairment of psychomotor performance, so that they can drive vehicles safely.”

They concluded, “No acute deaths have been described that could be unequivocally attributed solely to cannabis consumption or treatment with cannabinoids.”

Symptomatic Relief Reported By Crohn’s Patients From Cannabis

According to survey data published in tan issue of O’Shaughnessy’s: The Journal of Cannabis in Clinical Practice, Crohn’s disease patients report subjective benefits from cannabis, including pain relief and increased appetite.

In the survey, 12 patients were self-selected to participate in a survey that evaluated subjective changes in volunteers’ symptoms after the use of cannabis. “For all signs and symptoms evaluated in the study, the patients described marked improvements with the use of cannabis,” concluded co-author Jeff Hergenrather of the California Society for Cannabis Clinicians. “Beneficial effects were reported for appetite, pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, activity, and depression. Patients also reported that cannabis use resulted in weight gain, fewer stools per day and fewer flare-ups of less severity.”

It was found by the study authors that use of cannabis by patients was linked with a reduction in their use of other pharmaceutical medicines.

Pre-clinical data published earlier in the journal Gastroenterology found that cannabinoids could promote healing of the gastrointestinal membrane besides providing relief to patients suffering from inflammatory disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The activation of cannabinoid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract protects the body from inflammation and modulates gastric secretions and intestinal motility, among other functions, according to previous trials in animals.

Migraine May Be Associated With Cannabinoid Underproduction

According to clinical trial data published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, patients with a history of migraine headaches could suffer from a clinical deficiency of the endocannabinoid system.

It was reported by investigators at Italy’s University of Perugia, Department of Public Health that patients suffering from chronic migraines possessed “significantly lower” levels of the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG) in their platelets compared to age-matched controls.

“These data support the potential involvement of a dysfunctioning of the endocannabinoid and serotonergic systems in the pathology of chronic migraine and medication-overuse headaches,” researchers’ concluded.

A previous paper appearing in the journal Neuroendocrinology Letters similarly suggested that migraine, fibromyalgia, and other treatment-resistant conditions could be linked with dysfunctions in the endocannabinoid system, which is assumed to play an important role in the regulation of humans’ mood, appetite, skeletal development, motor coordination, digestion, and reproduction.

The study “Endocannabinoids in platelets of chronic migraine patients and medication-overuse headache patients: relation with serotonin levels,” appeared in an issue of the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Use Of Opiate And Other Addictive Drugs Reduced By Therapeutic Cannabis

According to a review published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, regulating access to cannabis would offer an effective treatment for chronic pain patients besides reducing morbidity associated with the use of prescription opiates and other pharmaceuticals.

Cannabis could be useful in treating chronic pain and certain substance abuse disorders, according to a report by a researcher with the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia. The researcher also reported that therapeutic cannabis poses fewer risks to health than many conventional alternatives

He writes: “When used in conjunction with opiates, cannabinoids lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain, resulting in a reduction in the use of opiates (and associated side-effects) by patients in a clinical setting. Additionally, cannabinoids can prevent the development of tolerance to and withdrawal from opiates, and can even rekindle opiate analgesia after a prior dosage has become ineffective. Novel research suggests that cannabis may be useful in the treatment of problematic substance use. These findings suggest that increasing safe access to medical cannabis may reduce the personal and social harms associated with addiction, particularly in relation to the growing problematic use of pharmaceutical opiates.”

The author continues: “Since both the potential harms of pharmaceutical opiates and the relative safety of cannabis are well established, research on substitution effect suggests that cannabis may be effective in reducing the use and dependence of other substances of abuse such as illicit opiates, stimulants and alcohol. As such, there is reason to believe that a strategy aiming to maximize the therapeutic potential benefits of both cannabis and pharmaceutical cannabinoids by expanding their availability and use could potentially lead to a reduction in the prescription use of opiates, as well as other potentially dangerous pharmaceutical analgesics, licit and illicit substances, and thus a reduction in associated harms.”

The author concludes, “Despite a lack of regulatory oversight by federal governments in North America, community-based medical cannabis dispensaries have proven successful at supplying patients with a safe source of cannabis within an environment conducive to healing, and may be reducing the problematic use of pharmaceutical opiates and other potentially harmful substances in their communities.”

Prescription Pain Drug Deaths Can Be Reduced With Cannabis Therapy

According to a peer-reviewed paper published online in the Harm Reduction Journal, physicians prescribed opioid drugs to patients with neuropathy (nerve pain) ought to evaluate recommending cannabis (marijuana) as an alternative therapy.

“There is sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy for the use of (cannabis/cannabinoids) in the treatment of nerve pain relative to opioids,” the commentary states. “In states where medicinal cannabis is legal, physicians who treat neuropathic pain with opioids should evaluate their patients for a trial of cannabis and prescribe it when appropriate prior to using opioids. … Prescribing cannabis in place of opioids for neuropathic pain may reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with prescription pain medications and may be an effective harm reduction strategy.”

It was noted by the author that between the years 1999 and 2006, “approximately 65,000 people died from opioid analgesic overdose.” By contrast, he writes “No one has ever died from an overdose of cannabis.”

Inhaled cannabis has consistently been shown to minimize neuropathic pain of diverse causes in subjects unresponsive to standard pain therapies in clinical trials.
Clinical investigators at the University of California, San Francisco have reported in the past that the analgesic effects of opiates in subjects prescribed morphine or oxycodone is augmented by vaporized cannabis.

Cannabinoids Demonstrate Benefits For MS Patients

Administration of oral THC and/or natural cannabis extracts in the long-term has the ability to minimize MS-associated pain and improves mobility compared to placebo, according to clinical trial data to be published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.
Results of the initial fifteen-week, double-blind, placebo controlled trial, appeared in the British medical journal The Lancet and the study findings are based on the results of a 52-week follow-up trial of more than 500 multiple sclerosis patients.

The investigators though found evidence of a “small treatment effect” in the control of patients’ spasticity noted that subjects achieved greater symptomatic relief in other areas – including pain relief, sleep quality, and mobility – the longer they made use of cannabinoids. These results “suggest a wider symptomatic benefit with time,” researchers concluded.
Researchers from Britain are expected to initiate recruitment of patients for participating in a three-year clinical trial to further investigate whether the long-term use of cannabinoids alters the progression of MS.

Cannabinoids inhibited the progression of diseases such as MS, Parkinson’s disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), according to previous studies investigating the impact of cannabinoids on animal models.