Marijuana can potentially be useful in treating brain cancer, according to results from a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of St. George London.

Using mice as animal models, the team evaluated the relative efficacies of three treatment regimes, i.e. irradiation, using marijuana extracts, or combining irradiation and marijuana extracts. Of the 85 known marijuana extracts (cannabinoids), the researchers focused on the two most abundant, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabidiol (CBD), which were used separately, and also as a combination, with and without ionizing irradiation.

The control for the study was a subset of the animal models who didn’t receive any treatment regime.

The brain cancer that was used in the investigation was a glioma, which affects all kinds of non-neuronal cells in both the brain and the spinal cord.

The researchers found that when the glioma cells were exposed to a combination of pure THC and pure CBD for four hours prior to irradiation, they became more susceptible to the treatment, and easily died off or were more easily destroyed by the body.

After 21 days of such treatment, the gliomas had shrunk to occupying only about 5.5mm3, which contrasts sharply with an average of 48.7mm3 in the mice that didn’t receive any treatment.

Commenting on the findings, Dr. Wai Liu, the lead researcher, had this to say:

“Those treated with both irradiation and the cannabinoids saw the most beneficial results and a drastic reduction in size. In some cases, the tumors effectively disappeared.”

Because of the complexity of operating on the brain, this research offers hope of an easier method to reduce brain cancers to manageable/operable sizes, and the research team plans to conduct human trials to confirm the observations.

The research is available on Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

The team at St. George’s University have previously focused on other cannabinoids, namely cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabigevarian (CBGV), which demonstrated some anti-cancer properties when tested against leukemia.

This is among the latest research to demonstrate some of the numerous potential benefits of marijuana, which is largely banned across the world, due to its supposed adverse effects on the brain regions associated with memory and cognition.

But with marijuana growing in use as a pain reliever, it should be no surprise if in the near future one receives an infusion of its extracts prior to a radiation session.

 

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