Researchers hope to test cancer fighting pot compound
#$%$ and its psychoactive ingredient THC already provide relief, and often an accompanying buzz, for thousands of patients fighting cancer.
But more than five years ago, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco began focusing their attention on a far tamer compound in the marijuana plant, an ingredient called cannabidiol.
"Cannabidiol is a non-toxic agent from #$%$ that is not psychoactive," says Sean McAllister, Ph.D., a lead researcher in the group's recent study.
McAllister and colleague Pierre Desprez, Ph.D., now believe they are ready for human trials, using the compound to treat metastatic cancer. The pair has produced a synthetic version of cannabidiol, also known as CBD, which they say targets a specific gene in the body related to the spread of cancer.
"We found this one compound, CBD, had a specific effect on metastatic cancer cells, very aggressive tumor cells. The bad cancer cells, the ones that spread throughout the body," said Desprez.
In their recently published study the team documented that effect on brain cancer in a large scale animal trial. They say brain scans revealed the disruption of the tumor cells after the cannabidiol was used to switch off a specific gene regulator.
The team believes the current results, coupled with the non-toxic nature of CBD, is now encouraging enough to warrant human trials, which they hope to secure funding for in the upcoming months. In anticipation, the team has designed two trial models, one for brain cancer and the other for breast cancer.