Many benefits of medical marijuana are well known, but the hurdles to legalization make it difficult to study the full range of benefits of a drug that could reportedly save Medicare $1 billion per year. Nonetheless, researchers led by Dr. Wai Liu at the University of London
soldiered on and studied a new application for the cannabinoids (including THC and CBD) found in cannabis: Boosting the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs.
In addition to the well-known palliative effects of cannabinoids on some cancer-associated symptoms, a large body of evidence shows that these molecules can decrease tumour growth in animal models of cancer. They do so by modulating key cell signalling pathways involved in the control of cancer cell proliferation and survival. In addition, cannabinoids inhibit angiogenesis and decrease metastasis in various tumour types in laboratory animals. (Via
In other words, not only can cannabinoids relieve the frequent nausea experienced after a chemotherapy session, but also — if taken afterchemotherapy — they can increase the cancer cell-killing effects of the chemotherapy and decrease the growth of new tumor cells and tumor-feeding blood vessels. Taking cannabinoids before chemotherapy was significantly less effective, as was smoking marijuana (the therapy involves highly concentrated cannabinoids).
The researchers found indications that the cannabinoids used in animal models could be similarly effective in human patients with glioblastoma
, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. So that’s food for thought (I’m sorry