May 18, 12:59 PM – The active chemical compound in marijuana aggressively targets brain cancer cells, and helps to kill them by encouraging them to dissolve themselves, according to a recent report by Spanish
researchers.

Guillermo Velasco and a team of researchers at Complutense University in Spain have shown that the psycho-active chemical in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), encourages brain cancer cells to begin a process called autophagy, in which the cell basically dissolves itself.

The team noted that cannabinoids such as THC showed cancer-fighting effects in mice implanted with human brain cancer cells and in human patients with brain tumors. When mice implanted with human brain cancer cells that received the THC, showed significant reduction of tumor growth.

Two patients enrolled in a clinical trial received THC directly to the brain as an experimental treatment for recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive brain tumor. A comparison of biopsies taken before and after treatment showed that that tumors showed increased autophagy activity after receiving the THC.

None of the patients showed toxic effects from the treatment. Earlier assessments of THC in cancer treatment have also shown the therapy to be well tolerated. The researchers say that these findings might lead to new approaches for fighting tumor growth in brain cancer. Source.

The findings appear in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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