Researchers have found that non-hallucinogenic parts of cannabis plant can potentially be used to treat cancer.
It is the hemp plant, especially when grown as a source of cannabis that is a drug produced in various forms from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, smoked or chewed. Its recreational use is illegal in most countries.
Researchers, previously, found anticancer properties of the main active ingredient of cannabis, i.e. tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but that was found to have hallucinogenic properties.
Researchers have found the cannabinoids that have minimal hallucinogenic side effects and can be used as anti-cancer drugs. They worked on six cannabinoids, i.e. two forms of cannabidiol (CBD), two forms of cannabigerol (CBG) and two forms of cannabigevarin (CBGV).
Researchers worked on these compounds against the blood cancer leukaemia and observed that these agents can stop the growth of cancerous cells and are found to be as effective as THC. Interestingly, they can destroy cancer cells on their own by using specific dosage pattern.
“Cannabinoids were cytostatic and caused a simultaneous arrest at all phases of the cell cycle. Re-culturing pre-treated cells in drug-free medium resulted in dramatic reductions in cell viability. Furthermore, combining cannabinoids was not antagonistic,” Researchers wrote. “We suggest that the activities of some cannabinoids are influenced by treatment schedules; therefore, it is important to carefully select the most appropriate strategy in order to maximise their efficacy.”
Researchers are of the opinion that the inexpensiveness of these compounds could help in the development of cost-effective anti-cancer drugs in the future.
Scott KA, Shah S, Dalgleish AG, & Liu WM (2013). Enhancing the activity of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids in vitro through modifications to drug combinations and treatment schedules. Anticancer research, 33 (10), 4373-80 PMID: 24123005