For decades marijuana use has been villainized by media groups and even special interest government officials. The fake news reports have tarnished many people’s view of cannabis and turned it into something ‘bad.’ Unfortunately, such stigma tied the medical communities hands when it came to research. However, with marijuana being legalized at a state level in many regions of the united states for medicinal and recreation use, the medical community is starting to take notice of the plant.
CBD Medical Benefits Pave the Way for THC Research
At first, scientists tentatively started to study cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana. The health benefits of CBD became groundbreaking and only managed to pique the medical communities interest in marijuana’s possible wonders. Now the world’s leading scientific researchers are discovering that marijuana’s tetrahydrocannabinol treats not only lung cancer but also other cancers such as breast, prostate, and melanoma.
Researchers Study THC’s Ability to Treat Lung Cancer
Researchers from Harvard University undertook a groundbreaking study of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana. The research revealed that the use of cannabis that contains THC cuts tumor growth in lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of cancer to metastasize throughout the body.
Lung Cancer is the Leading Cause of Death
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of death throughout the United States. Typically, pulmonary cancers are resistant to treatment and metastasis to various parts of the body. The sufferer has a grim prognosis. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing non-small cell lung cancer tumor cells are common and considered highly aggressive. The lung cancer’s resistance to chemotherapy drugs is well-known by oncologists.
Understanding CB1 and CB2 Receptors
The use of THC, the active psychoactive cannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa has a direct effect on the central nervous system and peripheral sites within the body. All mammals possess an endocannabinoid system. That system is governed by receptors known as CB1 and CB2. THC actively engages those receptors and creates a very strong antitumor effect throughout the body. Clinical trials reveal that THC effectively targets non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer tumors through the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors to slow, stop and reduce tumor sizes plus stop metastasis, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Speculation on How THC Inhibits Tumor Growth
Scientists and researchers are still unsure of exactly how THC actively inhibits the tumor’s growth. They speculate that it could be due to the THC activating certain molecules that stop or slow the cancer cell’s life cycle. They also believe that THC actively inhibits cancer’s growth. The fact remains that
human lung cancer cells actively express both CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. The THC binds with the CB1 and CB2 cancer cell receptors the same way that it does with the healthy receptors within the body’s endocannabinoid system. However, when the THC binds with cancer’s CB1 and CB2 receptors it significantly slows their motility.
Mice Used in THC Research
Researchers used mice to study THC on tumor cell growth and metastasis. The study showed that lung cancer’s tumor growth was significantly reduced in mice treated daily with THC throughout 28 days. Also, the tumors in the mice treated with THC shrank substantially by as much as 50 percent or more. The number of cancerous lesions in the mice was also reduced by 60 percent or more. Further studies showed that the tumor size was reduced by 60 percent.
THC Stops Cancer Growth
Harvard’s studies surrounding THC and lung cancer have spurred other leading researchers to sit up and take notice. At Columbia University in New York City, researchers injected mice with prostate, breast, and melanoma cancer cells. When THC was used on the mice, using smart bomb therapy, all signs of cancer were eliminated, according to Norman Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer, at the American Lung Association in New York City and Len Horovitz, M.D., a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Research into THC’s ability to cut lung cancer tumor growth in half and significantly reduce the tumor’s size will continue. Anju Preet, Ph.D., a researcher in the Division of Experimental Medicine, states in an interview for Science Daily, “THC offers some promise, but we have a long way to go before we know what its potential is.”