Cancer

Spinning Research

Two contradictory studies underscores why preclinical research is only a first step in developing medicines

Spinning Research

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Last week we wrote about a study on CBD and cancer. The authors suggested that CBD was fighting cancer cells by blocking a receptor called GPR55. A study published this year in Biomedical Pharmacotherapies presented similar results with a very different interpretation.

THC vs. Breast Cancer

Breast cancer testing
It’s no secret that many cancer patients are using cannabis to help manage pain, fatigue, nausea, and other side effects of chemotherapy. Preclinical research also shows that plant cannabinoids — like THC and CBD – produce antitumor responses in various animal models of cancer.

Cannabinoids in Brain Cancer

brain scans

Sometimes, science fails to see the tree for the forest. Statistical significance and double-blind trials are important, but so is human experience. Case studies are meaningful. Case studies often portend future discovery. So the case study of two Brazilian brain cancer patients who successfully combined CBD with their cancer treatment should not be dismissed. In their report, Paula Dall’Stella and other doctors in São Paulo describe the typical treatment plan for patients with glioblastoma.

CB2 in Breast Cancer

pink silhouette of woman

Breast cancers are often classified by the receptors they express. The three most common breast cancer receptors respond to estrogen, progesterone, or epidermal growth factor. The latter include HER2-positive breast cancers. Identifying these receptors facilitates treatment. A study led by scientists in Spain indicates that the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the treatment of HER2-positive cancer.

CBD in Lung Cancer

abstract drawing of the lungs

Doctors in the UK recently reported the case of an elderly man who’s lung cancer responded to CBD. The man — being 81 years old — decided against chemotherapy or radiation, which would worsen his quality of life without much hope for extending it. Four months after a CT scan, the tumor cross section had shrunk to nearly one tenth of its initial size! The doctors — obviously surprised — found out that the patient had begun using a CBD oil 2-3 months earlier.

Orphan Receptors in Cancer

cancer cells being attacked

An “orphan receptor” is the term for a receptor in the body whose natural activator is not known. GPR55 is a G-protein coupled orphan receptor that interacts with the endocannabinoid system. CBD appears to inhibit GPR55, while endocannabinoids may activate it. Researchers in the UK and Italy collaborated on a study of GPR55 in pancreatic cancer.

THC & Night Sweats

dripping faucet

The first medical use of THC allowed by the FDA was the 1985 approval of isolate THC (Marinol) to treat nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. Since then, research has demonstrated numerous possible applications of THC and cannabis in cancer patients, including painkilling, protecting the brain from toxic chemo, and even synergizing with the treatment itself.

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