A new study suggests that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the
main active component in marijuana, may help destroy brain cancer cells.
The researchers tested the effects of THC in mice with brain
cancer cells and two humans with aggressive brain tumors (called recurrent
glioblastoma multiforme). THC was injected daily near the tumor sites. Biopsies
were taken before and after treatment.
The authors found that THC caused the tumors to shrink in
both the mice and humans. They also noted that THC caused the tumor cells to
undergo autophagy, or self-destruction. No toxic side effects were noted.
In the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the authors concluded that THC “may be an effective therapeutic strategy for targeting human cancers.”
However, additional research is needed to determine if THC
has therapeutic effects in patients with brain cancer.
In a related population-based case-control study published in March 2009, researchers found that smoking marijuana may be associated with an increased risk of developing testicular cancer. The authors found that patients with testicular cancer were 70 percent more likely to be current marijuana smokers compared to the controls.
For more information about integrative therapies for brain cancer, please visit Natural Standard’s Comparative Effectiveness database.