“A cannabinoid receptor lying on the surface of cells may help suppress colorectal cancer, say U.S. researchers. When the receptor is turned off, tumor growth is switched on.
Cannabinoids are compounds related to the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in the cannabis plant.
It’s already known that the receptor, CB1, plays a role in relieving pain and nausea, elevating mood and stimulating appetite by serving as a docking station for the cannabinoid group of signaling molecules. This study suggests that CB1 may offer a new path for cancer prevention or treatment.
“Potential application of cannabinoids as anti-tumor drugs is an exciting prospect, because cannabinoid agonists (synthetic molecules that mimic the action of natural molecules) are being evaluated now to treat the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy,” DuBois said. “Turning CB1 back on and than treating with a cannabinoid agonist could provide a new approach to colorectal cancer treatment or prevention.””