Marijuana, already shown to reduce pain and nausea in cancer patients, may be promising as a cancer-fighting agent against some of the most aggressive forms of the disease. A growing body of early research shows a compound found in marijuana – one that does not produce the plant’s psychotropic high — seems to have the ability to “turn off” the activity of a gene responsible for metastasis in breast and other types of cancers.
Two scientists at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute first released data five years ago that showed how this compound — called cannabidiol — reduced the aggressiveness of human breast cancer cells in the lab. Last year, they published a small study that showed it had a similar effect on mice. Now, the researchers…hope to move forward as soon as possible with human clinical trials.
“The preclinical trial data is very strong, and there’s no toxicity. There’s really a lot of research to move ahead with and to get people excited,” said Sean McAllister, who along with scientist Pierre Desprez, has been studying the active molecules in marijuana — called cannabinoids — as potent inhibitors of meta-static disease for the past decade.