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Can Pot Cure Cancer?

The compounds in cannabis are already known to alleviate the pain from cancer and other illnesses, but now some studies have found that cannabis may also stop tumor cells from growing and getting out of control, as normally happens in untreated cancer.

In one of the latest studies, researchers Robert Ramer and Burkhard Hinz from the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology at the University of Rostock in Germany have found that cannabinoid compounds, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and methanandamide (MA), can cause the regression of highly invasive cancers, including cervical cancer and lung carcinoma.

Previous studies (as far back as the ‘70s) have shown that cannabinoids can also inhibit tumor cell growth in cancers such as lung adenocarcinomas, gliomas, thyroid epitheliomas, lymphomas, and skin carcinomas. However, the underlying cellular mechanisms are not currently known.

In the current study, Ramer and Hinz performed an in vitro study on the cervical cancer cell line HeLa, and found that in vitro HeLa cells incubated with small amounts (oral doses) of THC or MA showed diminished cancer cell invasion through a cell membrane after 24 hours. After 72 hours, they found that cancer cell invasiveness was diminished by up to 68% with THC treatment and 62% with MA treatment.

The researchers suspect that, to inhibit tumor cell growth, THC and MA likely inhibit several cell signaling pathways. Specifically, the cannabinoids stimulate the expression of the tissue inhibitor called TIMP-2. In turn, an increase of TIMP-2 can suppress tumor growth and angiogenesis (when tumors form new blood vessels). The scientists also identified other enzymes that the chemicals impact before triggering TIMP-2, and suggest the pathway could be more complex.

However, the scientists also discovered that toxic effects occurred when a small density of tumor cells was treated with either of the cannabinoids. According to the researchers' knowledge, this is the first finding of density-dependent cannabinoid toxicity. However, density-dependent toxicity is widely known to exist in several chemotherapeutics used to treat cancer. Scientists also know that both THC and MA can cause receptor-independent apoptosis, a type of cell death.

The researchers plan to do further studies to investigate how in vivo tumors respond to THC and MA. They also hope to find what types of cancers, in addition to cervical and lung carcinoma, might benefit from the new treatment.

via: Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Lisa Zyga
Science Blogger
InventorSpot.com

Comments
Jan 26, 2008
by Anonymous (not verified)

Pot and cellular matinence

I think that the "programed cell death" of THC is a kind of of system that turns of the signals and pathways that make possible for cancer production.
I disagree with the idea that THC could be toxic because those scientists (many of which are responsible for crimes against animals) have tried till they were personally sick to kill poor little animals like mice by injecting them with insane, even dare I say "overdosing amounts" of THC----AND THEY COULD NOT KILL THEM!
THC simply refuses to kill life, but it can slow and effect it.
I have watched sick animals who were on their last breath regain their health simply by blowing herb smoke in their face.
THC can in fact seem like magic in certain circumstances......the way it can just stop a problem in it's tracks be it a stroke, heart attack, loss of breath or anything like that.
It is very awesome.
If it can interrupt brain damage by a stroke, force the lungs open for someone with shortness of breath, stop a tremor, and even save a creatures life, surely it probably does stop cancer from spreading in it's tracks.
The challenge will be if we can learn to administer THC and other cannabinoids in their proper way so they can have the most benefits to those who suffer.
We shall see if governments has the courage to take these steps.
But first they must teach people how to be healthy in the first place, and that is a whole other discussion.

Jan 31, 2008
by ambulocetus (not verified)

I am an animal lover. In

I am an animal lover. In fact I believe that all primates should have the same rights as humans enjoy. That being said, the one exception I would allow is in the pursuit of science. Would you swerve into a tree and kill your entire family to save a squirrel crossing the road? Of course not. You might feel bad after, but you could still be confident you did the right thing. The planet, and all the myriad forms that share it, is in danger. Science is our only hope. Science is being attacked from the right and the left. A culture of suspicion is being fostered by the greedy media. Embrace science. Learn about the scientific method. Science is above ethical considerations; it is neither good nor bad. It is up to us to learn and use what we learn to help not just each other, but also our sister species. If that means a few individuals must suffer, at least you didn't swerve into that tree.