A recent study by the University of East Anglia revealing more about how THC fights cancer has attracted widespread media attention. Small medical sites and large news organizations alike are sharing new revelations about THC’s anti-cancer mechanisms. Publicity of these studies is critical to raising acceptance of cannabis extract medicine, and the research itself is important to understanding how the medicine works.
To identify THC’s effects, researchers administered THC to mice implanted with human breast cancer cells. They found THC exerted anti-tumor properties through interaction with CB2 and GPR55 receptors. Most people are familiar with CB1 and CB2, but other receptor sites also bind with cannabinoids.
For years, studies have shown that other receptors bind with phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids. In addition to GPR55, GPR119 and TRPV1 have been identified as novel cannabinoid receptors. The existence of these receptors was postulated when CB1 and CB2 receptors were genetically deleted from mice, but cannabinoids still exerted pharmacological activity.
Dr. Peter McCormick, a co-author of the study, remarked that cancer patients should not use cannabis to self-medicate, and hopes his team’s research will lead to synthetic equivalents in the future. This attitude represents the unfortunate disconnect between researchers and actual medicinal cannabis users. Most patients do not prefer synthetics – they want natural, whole-plant organic extracts with a full spectrum of cannabinoids. Moreover, cancer patients don’t have time to wait for clinical trials, which Dr. McCormick said were “at least” five years away.
People are already using cannabis extracts and reporting cancer remissions. It’s time for the science and policy to catch up, so everyone can have access immediately. Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Do you think we are “at least” five years away from clinical trials?
Here is a direct linkto the full study (PDF)