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Cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell survival and "could be useful in the treatment of cancer," according to a forthcoming review to be published in the journal Cancer Letters. June 3, 2009 - Dunedin, New Zealand:
Investigators at the University of Otago (New Zealand), Department of Pharmacology, reported, "[C]annabinoids have been shown to have anti-proliferative, anti-mestatic, anti-angiogenic and pro-apoptotic effects in various cancer types (lung, glioma, thyroid, lymphoma, skin, pancreas, uterus, breast, and prostate carcinoma) using both in vitroand in vivo models.
Previous trials have reported that cannabinoids can selectively target and kill malignant cancer cells while ignoring healthy cells, as well as reduce the growth of new blood vessels to cancerous tumors.
Alexander A, Smith PF, Rosengren RJ.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Otago, Dunedin 9001, New Zealand.
Cannabinoids, the active components of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, along with their endogenous counterparts and synthetic derivatives, have
Image via Wikipediaelicited anti-cancer effects in many different in vitro and in vivo models of cancer. While the various cannabinoids have been examined in a variety of cancer models, recent studies have focused on the role of cannabinoid receptor agonists (both CB(1) and CB(2)) in the treatment of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer. This review will summarize the anti-cancer properties of the cannabinoids, discuss their potential mechanisms of action, as well as explore controversies surrounding the results. [Cancer Letters]
A 2008 review by investigators at the University of Wisconsin concluded, "[T]here is overwhelming evidence to suggest that cannabinoids can be explored as chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer."
Commenting on the forthcoming review, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: "Cannabinoids may one day represent a new class of non-toxic anti-cancer drugs that can halt the spread of the disease without inducing the painful and life-threatening side effects of chemotherapy. It is shameful that politics and US government propaganda have halted the research and exploration of these compounds as anti-cancer agents."