A recent study shows that cannabis extracts can impair the survival of some types of cancer cells and also inhibit their spread. However, the effects of the cannabis extracts vary according to the chemical profile of the extracts used, the researchers discovered.
The team of researchers found that the results of using just one compound of cannabis, such as THC, to kill cancer cells wasn’t as promising as using full-spectrum cannabis extracts. Since marijuana has hundreds of compounds whose concentration varies from one preparation or marijuana strain to another, it was difficult to determine which particular combination of compounds had the most significant therapeutic effect.
The team, whose findings were published in Oncotarget, a journal centered on cancer research, show that 12 cannabis extracts having varying phytocannabinoid profiles were tested on 12 different human cancer lines.
Each of the 12 cancer cell samples was treated using increasing doses of different marijuana extracts over a 24-hour duration. Of the 12 cannabis extracts, five were especially effective in acting on a variety of cancer types. Nevertheless, the researchers found that different cancers seemed to respond to different marijuana extracts even if those cancers originated from the same body organ.
For example, two forms of prostate cancer cells were most responsive to different cannabis extract formulations and yet it would be expected that the same formulation would work for these two cancers since they all affect the prostate gland.
The marijuana extracts also exhibited different levels of effectiveness in terms of shrinking cancer cells. Out of the 12 preparations, only three were able to shrink cells by up to 51 percent of their baseline (original) size.
Some of the common attributes shared by the extracts which showed higher levels of effectiveness included their higher concentration of THC and the larger variety of phytocannabinoids which have been decarboxylated.
The researchers concluded that the therapeutic action of marijuana extracts on cancer cells cannot be attributed to a single compound, but rather to the synergy of different compounds acting together.
They also added that the fact that cancers from the same line react differently to cannabis extracts means that other compounds, apart from THC, work together to produce a pharmacological effect upon the cancer cells.
The team of researchers therefore called for more research to be done about the way cancer cells respond to cannabis. For example, more information is needed regarding the effect of the presence or absence of cannabis receptors on cancer cells when treating those cancers using marijuana extracts.
Marijuana industry pundits think that industry participants like Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF) and VPR Brands LP (OTC: VPRB), will feel vindicated that the industry’s assertion regarding the therapeutic effects of marijuana is starting to be proved by independent researchers.
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