Cannabis Found to Help Stop Spread of Breast Cancer
Researchers in California have found that an active compound in marijuana, cannabidiol or CBD, can help prevent aggressive breast cancers from spreading to the rest of the body. It could provide an alternative to chemotherapy, with fewer side effects.
Scientists at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute have discovered that a compound found in marijuana, cannabidiol or CBD, can actually help prevent severe breast cancer from metastasizing. Their findings were published in the latest journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.
Metastasis is the process under which cancerous cells spread from a primary source to other parts of the body, causing cancer to generalize. CBD works by blocking the activity of gene Id-1, a key regulator in the spread of breast cancer.
“We also know that Id-1 has also been found at higher levels in other forms of cancer. So what is exciting about this study is that if CBD can inhibit Id-1 in breast cancer cells, then it may also prove effective at stopping the spread of cancer cells in other forms of the disease, such as colon and brain or prostate cancer,” said senior author Dr. Pierre-Yves Desprez in a news release, quoted by the CBC.
“Right now we have a limited range of options in treating aggressive forms of cancer. Those treatments, such as chemotherapy, can be effective but they can also be extremely toxic and difficult for patients,” said researcher Dr. Sean McAllister.
“This compound offers the hope of a non-toxic therapy that could achieve the same results without any of the painful side effects,” added McAllister.
While the low-toxicity substance is derived from cannabis, researchers warn patients about smoking pot. The concentration of CBD would likely be too low in smoke inhalations to provide the benefits described in this study.