The admission comes several months after a study demonstrated the effectiveness of cannabinoids in shrinking aggressive brain tumors. It also comes shortly after the Senate moved to end the federal ban on medical marijuana by making it a Schedule II drug instead of Schedule I (a Schedule I classified substance is considered harmful, addictive, and without medical benefits).
The research, which was conducted by a team of scientists at St. George’s University of London, found the two most common cannabinoids in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), weakened the ferocity of cancer cells and made them more susceptible to radiation treatment. The study, which was published last year in the medical journal Molecular Cancer Therapies, details the “dramatic reductions” in fatal variations of brain cancer when these specific cannabinoids were used in conjunction with radiation therapy.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publication reads: ‘Recent animal studies have shown that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others.’
Although the medicinal and health benefits of cannabis have been long known, having a federally funded site admit and cite research on the curative effects is both surprising and exciting.
Dr. Wai Liu, the head researcher on this investigation, stated that the animals were tested and treated in a number of ways. Some solely with irradiation, others with only cannabinoids, as well as a group with both. Dr. Liu found that those treated with both irradiation and cannabinoids saw the most beneficial results including a drastic reduction in tumor size. In some cases, the tumors effectively disappeared in the animals.
What are THC & CBD?
This does not mean that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is going to approve cannabis for cancer treatment anytime soon. However, it is still an important step in the right direction for national medical marijuana—and is an indication that more research will be dedicated towards marijuana’s effects.