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Cannabis May Help Fight Brain Cancer

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Marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, may help fight brain cancer…

It has long been thought that marijuana holds many medicinal properties for the body and mind, however, laws prohibiting the cultivation and use of cannabis has slowed research into the plants’ active ingredient, THC. But as more research is permitted, scientists are beginning to uncover the mysteries of THC.

A report by Spanish scientists released in the April 1st edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, showed that THC promotes the death of brain cancer cells by essentially helping them feed upon themselves.

Guillermo Velasco and colleagues at Complutense University in Spain found that THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) causes brain cancer cells to undergo a process call autophagy – the breakdown of a cell that occurs when the cell essentially self-digests.

THC May Help Fight Brain Cancer

The team discovered that cannabinoids such as THC had anticancer effects in mice with human brain cancer cells and people with brain tumors.

When mice with the human brain cancer cells received the THC, the tumor growth shrank.

Two patients enrolled in a clinical trial received THC directly to the brain as an experimental treatment for recurrent glioblastoma multiforme – a highly aggressive brain tumor. Biopsies taken before and after treatment showed increased autophagy activity after receiving THC.

The patients did not have any toxic effects from the treatment. And according to background information in journal article, previous studies of THC for the treatment of cancer have also be physically well tolerated by patients.

The team hopes the discovery will lead to new strategies and drugs to help prevent or cure brain tumors.

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