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The Cannabis Cancer Connection | Project CBD –

Tailored from The Cannabis Cancer Connection: How to use cannabis and hemp to kill cancer cells by Joe D. Goldstrich, MD, with Angela Bacca (Flower Valley Press, 2023).

There’s a rising physique of anecdotal and scientific proof that the “main cannabinoids” tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), sure “minor cannabinoids” (some with out a identify), and different hashish compounds have antineoplastic motion in opposition to most cancers cells. 

The overwhelming majority of the present analysis is on how particular cannabinoids kill most cancers, however a rising physique of labor is revealing how the entourage of compounds present in whole-plant hashish kills most cancers. 

Though a lot of the research offered right here demonstrated the antineoplastic results of particular person or remoted cannabinoids, most of this analysis factors to what lay healers and sufferers who make and use their very own hashish oil already know: the entire hashish plant, together with hemp varieties, each a part of them, comprise antineoplastic compounds that collectively kill most cancers. 

How THC Kills Most cancers

Till comparatively lately, nearly all medical research about hashish have been particularly on THC, as is a lot of the preclinical analysis displaying the antineoplastic exercise of hashish. With a number of exceptions, tumor cells all through the physique have cannabinoid receptors on their floor, and THC can bind to those receptors and induce apoptosis or programmed cell loss of life. Put merely, when THC binds to the most cancers cell, it forces the cancer cell to commit suicide.

Along with inducing apoptosis when binding to a most cancers cell, THC can also assist relieve ache. THC binds to 2 forms of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are discovered within the mind and all the key organs within the physique. Ache impulses are decreased when THC binds to CB1 receptors in nerves carrying painful impulses again to the mind.

The second receptor to which THC binds is CB2. CB2 receptors are discovered within the digestive and immune system, and particularly on many tumors, particularly malignancies associated to the immune system like leukemias and lymphomas. Many tumors contain each CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Apparently, many tumors with a excessive degree of malignancy and an inclination to metastasize have excessive ranges of cannabinoid receptors, making them significantly weak to cannabinoid-induced apoptosis. Both CB1, CB2, or each have to be current within the tumor cells for THC to induce apoptosis within the tumor.1-3

THC and CBD additionally restrict tumor progress by blocking the manufacturing of vascular endothelial progress issue, which stimulates the expansion of latest blood vessels wanted for most cancers to develop. With out elevated blood circulate, the tumor doesn’t have sufficient diet to maintain its improvement.4,5

How CBD Kills Most cancers

CBD displays apoptotic, anti-proliferative, and anti-invasive exercise.6,7 Though CBD doesn’t bind on to the CB1 or CB2 receptors, it additionally has a robust antineoplastic impact. CBD’s presence weakens THC’s binding to the CB1 receptor and will mitigate undesirable psychoactivity attributable to THC. 

CBD produces its anticancer impact in a number of methods. Maybe most intriguing is the downregulation of the ID-1 gene. ID-1 is a traditional gene extremely expressed in newborns and younger kids. It stimulates the expansion and improvement of cells, tissues, and organs wanted in early improvement. There’s no need for this in maturity, and ID-1 exercise in regular cells turns into minimal or nonexistent as people get older. Nonetheless, most cancers cells can reactivate this dormant gene and use it to advertise their progress. ID-1 not solely encourages the expansion of most cancers cells, it additionally will increase their survival. ID-1 additionally facilitates most cancers’s potential to metastasize whereas defending it from chemotherapeutic brokers.8-12

CBD has been proven to assist flip off ID-1 by downregulating its tumor expression. Like THC, CBD limits tumor progress by blocking the manufacturing of vascular endothelial progress issue. CBD has additionally been proven to inhibit most cancers cell migration and metastases by stopping most cancers cells from adhering to different tissues.

Combining THC, CBD & CBG

Regardless of the highly effective antineoplastic exercise of all these cannabinoids individually, little or no analysis has been carried out to indicate their mixed results on most cancers. Nonetheless, preliminary research have proven that combining THC and CBD could be efficient in opposition to melanoma pores and skin most cancers cells and a number of myeloma cell traces.13,14 

Extra promising, nevertheless, is a research carried out by St. George’s College of London, which demonstrated that CBD was nearly twice as highly effective as THC in its potential to kill leukemia cells in a specific cell line. When THC and CBD had been mixed, the impact was twice as robust as CBD alone. 

These researchers additionally experimented with a second kind of leukemia cell and located that the magnitude of the cell loss of life with THC and CBD mixed was lower than with the primary cell kind, however nonetheless confirmed these cannabinoids had been more powerful together than alone.

Additionally they examined mixtures of CBD and THC with cannabigerol (CBG). As soon as once more, the mixtures had been constantly extra highly effective than particular person cannabinoids alone. CBD plus CBG proved to be an particularly potent mixture on one of many cell traces. CBD plus CBG additionally improved outcomes when paired with one kind of chemotherapy. When used with one other chemotherapy, CBD with CBG was counterproductive.  

Lastly, they demonstrated that when THC and CBD are mixed with chemotherapy, the timing of the administration of those brokers makes a vital distinction within the loss of life of most cancers cells. There was extra most cancers cell loss of life when the cannabinoids had been administered after the chemotherapy than earlier than it. 

Each CBD and THC can have an effect on the metabolic breakdown of many chemotherapeutic medicine. Drug interactions can improve toxicity from chemotherapy by boosting blood drug ranges of chemotherapeutic brokers. I counsel my sufferers to cease utilizing hashish for 36 to 48 hours previous to chemotherapy and to begin once more 36 to 48 hours after their session. (See chapter: Utilizing Hashish Oil with Conventional Most cancers Therapies). 

THC & CBD (Sativex®) with Temozolomide: A Phase 2 Study

Earlier than a drug could be submitted for FDA approval, it should bear three testing phases. Section 2 is the primary research degree carried out on sufferers with the illness for which the drug is meant and determines whether or not it’s protected and efficient.

United Kingdom-based GW Prescribed drugs has produced the world’s first accepted cannabis-based medicines for the UK, US, and European markets, Sativex® and Epidiolex®. Epidiolex is a high-CBD tincture, and Sativex® has a roughly 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. As a part of the approval course of for all markets, they’ve carried out essential Section 2 research on numerous circumstances, together with most cancers. 

GW Prescribed drugs’ analysis on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is essential and promising. They carried out a double-blind, placebo-controlled section 2 medical trial utilizing Sativex® along with temozolomide to deal with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). GBM is a extremely aggressive mind tumor with a really poor prognosis. There isn’t any constantly profitable pharmaceutical drug remedy out there to deal with it, and whereas temozolomide is likely one of the greatest prescribed drugs at present used, efficacy by itself is sorely missing. 

Twenty-one sufferers with recurrent GBM obtained a most of 12 sprays of Sativex® every day, plus temozolomide. In comparison with the placebo group solely receiving temozolomide, 83% of the sufferers handled with Sativex® lived for a minimum of one 12 months, whereas solely 53% of the sufferers within the placebo group lived that lengthy. The median survival for the group taking the Sativex® and temozolomide mixture was higher than 550 days in contrast with 369 days for the placebo group.

Twelve sprays of Sativex® every day (the utmost dose administered on this research) equals 32.4 mg of THC and 30 mg of CBD. Though this can be a far cry from the “gram a day” many sufferers use on their very own and far decrease than the doses normally beneficial in most cancers therapy, particularly for extremely malignant tumors like GBM, these remarkably low doses are encouraging. This research additionally speaks to the potential benefits of combining cannabinoids with chemotherapy to attain outcomes neither may obtain on their very own.

[Note: In May 2021, GW Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals.]

How CBG Kills Most cancers

CBG has demonstrated antineoplastic exercise and inhibits the expansion of colorectal most cancers cells primarily by inducing apoptosis. It additionally increases reactive oxygen species (ROS), a mechanism THC and CBD use to kill most cancers cells. Destroying most cancers cells through the ROS mechanism implies that CBG, like THC and CBD, oxidizes the most cancers cells. Taking antioxidant dietary supplements whereas utilizing hashish as an antineoplastic agent could also be counterproductive. (See chapter: Dietary Dietary supplements & Antioxidants).

Israeli scientist Dedi Meiri has additionally demonstrated the antineoplastic exercise of CBG in opposition to all kinds of cancers. In experiments with 12 most cancers cell traces, Meiri confirmed that CBG demonstrated important cancer-killing exercise in opposition to six of them.

Different preclinical analysis has proven that when CBG is mixed with different cannabinoids, antineoplastic exercise is enhanced in each glioblastoma and breast most cancers cells.15,16

The Earliest Analysis Reveals CBN Kills Most cancers

Cannabinol (CBN) was one of many cannabinoids found initially to be antineoplastic in experiments carried out as early as 1975. There have solely been a number of publications demonstrating the antineoplastic results of CBN since then. A more moderen study has proven {that a} mixture of THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN have essentially the most highly effective antineoplastic exercise in opposition to estrogen-positive breast most cancers cells.

A Promising Have a look at CBC 

A latest preprint (not but peer-reviewed) publication from Israel confirmed that essentially the most potent antineoplastic cannabinoid mixture for killing ovarian most cancers cells was THC, CBG, and cannabichromene (CBC). This analysis was expedited and printed as a preprint as a result of ovarian most cancers is so aggressive and deadly that they wished to get the data within the public area as quickly as attainable.

One other 2021 analysis publication from Israel confirmed that when CBC was paired with both CBD or THC, it “led to cell cycle arrest and cell apoptosis” in opposition to bladder urothelial carcinoma (UC), the most typical urinary system most cancers. Combining CBC with THC or CBD additionally inhibited cell migration (metastasis).

Whereas these research are promising, it’s a problem to include important quantities of CBC into full-spectrum hashish protocols as a result of CBC is current in such low portions in each hemp and hashish cultivars. Till CBC is bred larger within the plant via pure strategies, extremely concentrated CBC merchandise are possible a results of artificial processes, akin to these used to supply Δ8-THC. I don’t suggest these artificial merchandise to most cancers sufferers due to their potential toxicity. (See chapter: Cannabinoids, Terpenes & Flavonoids).

Different Promising Cannabinoids 

Analysis carried out by Dedi Meiri has proven that many different so-called “minor“ cannabinoids, some but even to be named, have antineoplastic exercise. The 2 most researched cannabinoids present in very low concentrations in some cultivars that exhibit antineoplastic exercise are tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabidivarin (CBDV). One other cannabinoid recognized by Meiri, at present recognized solely by a quantity 331-18B, has additionally proven important antineoplastic exercise. As a result of the concentrations of those cannabinoids differ so broadly between cultivars, utilizing a number of types of THC-rich hashish to organize therapeutic oil will improve the probability of incorporating these desired cannabinoids.

The Acid (Uncooked) Cannabinoids

Acid cannabinoids are present in giant portions in “uncooked” (unheated) plant materials. When heated, THCA, CBDA, CBGA, and different acid cannabinoids are transformed into THC, CBD, and CBG, respectively. 

In a 2016 research, tetrahydrocanabinolic acid (THCA) was proven to be efficient in inhibiting the expansion of two completely different human breast most cancers cell traces; triple-negative breast most cancers and HER2-positive breast most cancers, which is taken into account to be essentially the most treatment-resistant of all breast cancers. Nonetheless, investigators had been unable to find out precisely how THCA achieved anti-neoplasia. 

Research from Meiri’s lab has proven that for some prostate most cancers cells, THCA is essentially the most antineoplastic cannabinoid.

Two Japanese research exploring the actions of cannabinolic acid (CBDA) in opposition to one cell line of breast most cancers confirmed that CBDA was in a position to restrict the power of those cells emigrate, that means it could restrict the power of most cancers cells to metastasize. The researchers estimated that this identical mechanism would apply to roughly 40% of invasive breast cancers in people. They uncovered a attainable mechanism of motion within the second printed analysis paper.17,18

Preclinical research have proven that extracts of hashish with excessive content material of each CBDA and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) inhibit aldose reductase, an enzyme concerned in irritation and most cancers progress.19,20

CBGA and THCA every act independently as antineoplastic brokers when used in opposition to precancerous adenomatous polyps and colon most cancers cells. When used in combination, the antineoplastic impact is even stronger. 

A Patent for Mixed CBGA & CBDA to Kill Most cancers

GW Prescribed drugs was awarded a patent in 2018 by the US Patent and Trademark Workplace for using CBGA and CBDA to kill most cancers. This motion signifies they possible have unbiased and proprietary analysis establishing some efficacy. You will need to word that they point out cannabinoids are more practical when utilized in mixture as a substitute of getting used alone. The patent reads:

“The current invention pertains to an lively pharmaceutical ingredient (API) which includes or consists basically of cannabidiol (CBD) and one different cannabinoid chosen from cannabigerol (CBG), cannabigerolic-acid (CBGA), cannabidiolic-acid (CBDA), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) to be used as a medicament, and extra significantly, to be used within the therapy of most cancers. These mixtures have proven themselves to be synergistic in treating a number of of: breast most cancers; liver most cancers; lung most cancers; pancreatic most cancers; melanoma; ovarian most cancers; gastric most cancers; renal most cancers or bladder most cancers. Two significantly favored API mixtures are: cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG); and cannabidiolic (CBDA) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).”


Greater than 200 terpenes have been recognized within the hashish plant, and a few have demonstrated antineoplastic exercise. In an excellent review of hashish pharmacology, Ethan Russo, MD et al. described antineoplastic exercise for the next terpenes discovered within the hashish plant: limonene, ɑ-terpineol, linalool, camphene, humulene (ɑ-caryophyllene), β-elemene, guaiol, and eudesmol.

Nonetheless, one experiment failed to indicate advantages when humulene and linalool had been added to pure THC.


Thus far, just one flavonoid discovered solely within the hashish plant has been proven to kill most cancers cells.

In 2019, researchers from the Brigham and Ladies’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Most cancers Institute, Harvard Medical College, and the College of Massachusetts found {that a} spinoff of Cannflavin B, FBL-03G, “demonstrates important remedy potential within the therapy of pancreatic most cancers, together with radio-sensitizing and most cancers metastasis therapy potential.”

A number of different flavonoids present in hashish (and different crops) have additionally demonstrated antineoplastic exercise.21,22 (See chapter: Cannabinoids, Terpenes & Flavonoids). 

Joe D. Goldstrich, MD, FACC, is a retired heart specialist who has studied and explored unconventional medical approaches to wellness all through his six-decade profession. Angela Bacca has authored a whole bunch of articles and edited and/or co-authored over a dozen books in addition to edited numerous on-line and print cannabis-centric publications. The Cannabis Cancer Connection is printed as an e book and paperback.



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