The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis could reduce tumor growth in cancer patients. New research has revealed previously unknown signaling platforms that are responsible for the drug's success in shrinking tumors. These findings may help to develop a synthetic equivalent with anticancer properties.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia have shown how the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis could reduce tumor growth in cancer patients.Research published today reveals the existence of previously unknown signaling platforms which are responsible for the drug's success in shrinking tumors.
It is hoped that the findings could help develop a synthetic equivalent with anti-cancer properties.
The research was co-led with the Universidad Complutense de Madridin, Spain. The team used samples of human breast cancer cells to induce tumours in mice. They then targeted the tumours with doses of the cannabis compound THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). They found that two cell receptors in particular were responsible for the drug's anti-tumour effects.
Dr Peter McCormick, from UEA's school of Pharmacy, said: “THC, the major active component of marijuana, has anti-cancer properties. This compound is known to act through a specific family of cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors. However, it …
McCormick added that patients with cancer should not be tempted to self-medicate. He said, “Our research uses an isolated chemical compound and using the correct concentration is vital. Cancer patients should not use cannabis to self-medicate, but I hope that our research will lead to a safe synthetic equivalent being available in the future.”
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