Non-Hallucinogenic Cannabinoids Are Effective Anti-Cancer Drugs – ScienceDaily

“New research has shown that the non-hallucinogenic components of cannabis could act as effective anti-cancer agents.

The anti-cancer properties of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary hallucinogenic component of cannabis, has been recognised for many years, but research into similar cannabis-derived compounds, known as cannabinoids, has been limited.

The study was carried out by a team at St George’s, University of London. It has been published in the journal Anticancer Research.

The team, led by Dr Wai Liu and colleagues carried out laboratory investigations using a number of cannabinoids, either alone or in combination with each other, to measure their anti-cancer actions in relation to leukemia.

Of six cannabinoids studied, each demonstrated anti-cancer properties as effective as those seen in THC. Importantly, they had an increased effect on cancer cells when combined with each other.”


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New research shows marijuana compounds do fight cancer

The bracts surrounding a cluster of Cannabis sativa flowers are coated with cannabinoid-laden trichomes. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“Debate is just beginning in Washington over how medical marijuana will be grown and distributed now that the rules for the recreational market are established. Meanwhile, research into medical benefits of compounds within the cannabis plant continues to show effectiveness.

Effectiveness against pain in its many forms and other side effects of major diseases – or the palliative side of marijuana use – have been pretty well established, but can marijuana directly take on a disease as big, scary and deadly as cancer?

“What we’ve shown using just a few of these (cannabis) compounds is that the effects against cancer are really profound. They really are,” said Dr. Wai Liu, a senior research fellow at St George’s University of London.

Anticancer success

Quick note: Cannabinoids are the chemicals in marijuana that have effects in the body, some have psychoactive (or make you high) effects such as THC, and others such as CBD don’t have psychoactive effects but do interact with the body’s “cannabinoid receptors.” There are more than 85 “cannabinoids” in marijuana.

Liu’s most recent published research “explored the activity of six cannabinoids, used both alone and in combination in leukaemic cells.” The research was published in Anticancer Research: International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment.

He said the anticancer activity of THC has been “known for sometime” but that THC’s psychoactive effect or tendency to get you high limits its use as a cancer-fighting agent. That’s partly due to the negative social stigma about getting high and, of course, not everyone wants to experience a high.

So, he set out to explore the cancer fighting ability of other cannabinoids that don’t get you high.

“We have shown that these six other agents that lack psychoactivity are also just as effective as an anti-cancer agent,” he said. Chief among the six was cannabidiol or CBD.”


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Cannabidiol in Humans-The Quest for Therapeutic Targets.

“Cannabidiol (CBD), a major phytocannabinoid constituent of cannabis, is attracting growing attention in medicine for its anxiolytic, antipsychotic, antiemetic and anti-inflammatory properties.

However, up to this point, a comprehensive literature review of the effects of CBD in humans is lacking. The aim of the present systematic review is to examine the randomized and crossover studies that administered CBD to healthy controls and to clinical patients.

 A systematic search was performed in the electronic databases PubMed and EMBASE using the key word “cannabidiol”. Both monotherapy and combination studies (e.g., CBD + ∆9-THC) were included. A total of 34 studies were identified: 16 of these were experimental studies, conducted in healthy subjects, and 18 were conducted in clinical populations, including multiple sclerosis (six studies), schizophrenia and bipolar mania (four studies), social anxiety disorder (two studies), neuropathic and cancer pain (two studies), cancer anorexia (one study), Huntington’s disease (one study), insomnia (one study), and epilepsy (one study).

Experimental studies indicate that a high-dose of inhaled/intravenous CBD is required to inhibit the effects of a lower dose of ∆9-THC. Moreover, some experimental and clinical studies suggest that oral/oromucosal CBD may prolong and/or intensify ∆9-THC-induced effects, whereas others suggest that it may inhibit ∆9-THC-induced effects.

 Finally, preliminary clinical trials suggest that high-dose oral CBD  may exert a therapeutic effect for social anxiety disorder, insomnia and epilepsy, but also that it may cause mental sedation. Potential pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic explanations for these results are discussed.”

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Cannabidiol, a Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoid Compound, Inhibits Proliferation and Invasion in U87-MG and T98G Glioma Cells through a Multitarget Effect.

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“…the non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD) effectively limits human glioma cell growth, both in vitro and in vivo… the present investigation confirms the antiproliferative and antiinvasive effects of CBD in U87-MG cells.

 More interestingly, these effects can also be extended to T98G glioma cells, a well known Δ9-THC-resistant lineage…

Taken together, these results provide new insights into the antitumor action of CBD, showing that this cannabinoid affects multiple tumoral features and molecular pathways.

 As CBD is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid that appears to be devoid of side effects, our results support its exploitation as an effective anti-cancer drug in the management of gliomas.”


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Study: Marijuana Compound Can Kill Some Cancer Cells – TIME

Marijuana leaf

“Compounds derived from marijuana can kill cancerous cells in patients with leukemia, according to a recent study.

The study, published in the Anticancer Research journal, was partially funded by GW Pharmaceuticals. which already produces a cannabis-derived drug to help people with multiple sclerosis. Dr. Wai Liu studied six different non-psychoactive cannabinoids (compounds derived from marijuana that don’t get the user high like its THC component does). He found that certain non-psychoactive cannabinoids “resulted in dramatic reductions in cell viability” and “caused a simultaneous arrest at all phases of the cell cycle,” according to the study summary posted online.

Leukemia will take the lives of an estimated 23,720 people this year.

This isn’t the first time marijuana has been linked to deterring cancer: In 2012, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that CBD — a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis — can stop metastasis in some kinds of aggressive cancer. Liu told the Huffington Post that smoking cannabis is unlikely to have the same cancer-inhibiting effect.”

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Drugs group’s high hopes for epilepsy trials

“A cannabis-based medicine could help the world’s 50 million epileptics control their seizures after a British drugmaker today began putting a potential treatment through human clinical trials.

GW Pharmaceuticals, which already uses cannabis to make Sativex for MS sufferers, has spent five years carrying out pre-clinical research on whether a cannabis-derived compound could treat epileptics’ seizures, with fewer side effects than current drugs. 

About a third of epileptics take no medication, either because existing treatments don’t control their seizures or because they can’t tolerate the side effects.

But positive results from GW’s research mean it is putting its potential new drug, dubbed GWP42006, through Phase 1 human trials. The drugmaker grows genetically-cloned marijuana plants for the medicine in secret locations in England.

The trials announcement is “a significant milestone in the development of this novel product candidate,” said Stephen Wright, GW’s director of research.”

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FDA approves marijuana based drug

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved clinical trials of a cannabis-based drug and its effects on epilepsy. The treatment, Epidiolex, is 98 percent purified cannabidiol (CBD) made by GW Pharmaceuticals based out of the U.K.  

There are around 60 known chemicals contained in cannabis called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the main component responsible for the drug’s psychoactive nature. CBD, however, is the second most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis and provides medicinal benefits without the “high.” Epidiolex will come in a viscous liquid form to be dispensed from syringes. A 25 milligram per meter or 100 milligram per meter will be the two strengths made available to those in the trials.

The FDA has approved of intermediate-sized clinical trials sponsored by two doctors. Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a professor in the Department of Neurology, Neuroscience and Psychiatry in the New York University School of Medicine and director of the NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, and Dr. Roberta Cilio, a pediatric neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, are set to follow 25 patients using Epidiolex as treatment for pediatric epilepsy.

On Oct. 4, at the NYU Langone Medical Center, Devinsky led a conference entitled, “Cannabidiols: Potential Use in Epilepsy & Other Neurological Disorders.” During the affair, Devinsky and Cilio led a presentation on planned trials on CBD in children with treatment resistant epilepsy. 

The D.C. – based Marijuana Policy Project’s Communications Director Mason Tvert responded to the news of the approved trials. “We’ve long known that marijuana has a variety of medical benefits,” Tvert said. Tvert added that the federal government clearly recognizes marijuana’s medicinal benefits and it’s a shame they hindered most research of it.

Maryland’s new marijuana law came into effect on Oct. 1, but its miniscule scope won’t have much effect. It deals with a small number of patients that would enroll in state-approved clinical studies. However, with no hospitals signed up to hold these studies, no visible changes are set to occur in the near future.

Now the country will wait and see if CBD can live up to the hype, and if the epileptic patients can find any relief from their disease.”

 By Bonnie Katz

“Cannabis-Based Epilepsy Drug Approved For Clinical Trials”

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Around The World, Researchers Begin Clinical Trials of Cannabis For Epilepsy

Many patients in the U.S. have turned to tinctures and oil extracts to help control their seizures (Photo: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times) 

“While a large body of anecdotal and laboratory evidence points to cannabis as an effective treatment for epilepsy, research in humans is just beginning to catch up.

 GW Pharmaceuticals – the UK-based company behind the natural cannabis spray Sativex – announced the start of the first round of clinical trials of a new cannabis treatment for epilepsy.

In the press release, Dr. Stephen Wright, Director of Research and Development at GW, said the company has spent years testing cannabis in pre-clinical models – which include cell cultures and animals.

So far, the drug is only known as GWP42006.

“We are pleased to have advanced GWP42006 to first dose in man, a significant milestone in the development of this novel product candidate. The decision to progress into Phase 1 follows several years of highly promising pre-clinical research.”

Dr. Ben Whalley, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology at the Reading School of Pharmacy, added, “Our research collaboration with GW over the last several years has shown that GWP42006 not only exerts significant anticonvulsant effects in a wide range of preclinical models of seizure and epilepsy but is also better tolerated compared to existing anti-epileptic drugs.”

While the company has not disclosed the ingredients in the new drug, their latest animal study – which appears in the October issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology – showed positive results with two chemicals derived from cannabis: Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidivarin (CBDV).

Both were found to suppress seizures and increase survival across a range of different rat models of epilepsy.”


Both CBD and CBDV are produced naturally by cannabis. Unlike THC, these two compounds do not get patients high.

“Both CBD and CBDV are produced naturally by cannabis. Unlike THC, these two compounds do not get patients high.”

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Comes Now Epidiolex™ (FDA approves IND studies of CBD)

NYU Conference

“In response to urgent need expressed by parents of children with intractable epilepsy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is allowing Investigational New Drug studies of purified CBD (cannabidiol) as an anti-seizure medication. The “new drug” is being provided to physician-investigators by GW Pharmaceuticals, which has named its CBD product “Epidiolex™.”


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Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound, affects metalloproteinases and pro-survival intracellular pathways in u87-mg human glioma cell line

“Malignant gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors… Recently, we have shown that the non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD) induced apoptosis of human glioma cells in vitro and tumor regression in vivo…the present study was to investigate the anti-migratory action of CBD…

 In conclusion, the present investigation adds further insights into the antitumoral action of the non-psychoactive CBD, showing multiple mechanisms through which the cannabinoid inhibits glioma cell growth and motility.

As CBD is a natural compound without psychotropic and side effects, these data lead us to consider CBD as a new potential anticancer drug useful in the management of gliomas.”

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