Cannabinoids used in sequence with chemotherapy are a more effective treatment for cancer

June 5, 2017, St. George's University of London
Credit: St. George's University of London

New research has confirmed that cannabinoids - the active chemicals in cannabis - are effective in killing leukaemia cells, particularly when used in combination with chemotherapy treatments.

Researchers also found that sequential use of an initial dose of chemotherapy first and then cannabinoids significantly improved overall results against the blood cancer cells. They found that combining existing chemotherapy treatments with cannabinoids had better results than chemotherapy alone, meaning that a similar level of could be achieved through using a lower dose of the chemotherapy. If this were translated to humans, this lower dose of chemotherapy would mean that the side-effects of chemotherapy could be lessened.

Dr Wai Liu led the study at St George's, University of London, which was published in the International Journal of Oncology. He said: "We have shown for the first time that the order in which cannabinoids and chemotherapy are used is crucial in determining the overall effectiveness of this ."

"These extracts are highly concentrated and purified, so smoking marijuana will not have a similar effect. But cannabinoids are a very exciting prospect in oncology, and studies such as ours serve to establish the best ways that they should be used to maximise a ."

Cannabinoids are the active chemicals in cannabis, known more specifically as phytocannabinoids. When extracted from the plant and purified, they have been shown to possess anticancer properties, especially in certain cancers of the brain.

Researchers looked at cancer cells in the laboratory, trying different combinations of cannabinoids against leukaemia cells. They tested whether existing treatments worked effectively alongside the cannabinoids, and whether using the drugs in a different order had an effect.

A number of clinical studies are underway that are assessing the full potential of cannabinoids in patients with . Researchers say more trials need to be carried out to establish the veracity of the claims.

Explore further: Cannabis extract can have dramatic effect on brain cancer, says new research

Related Stories

Cannabis extract can have dramatic effect on brain cancer, says new research

November 17, 2014
The new research by specialists at St George's, University of London, studied the treatment of brain cancer tumours in the laboratory and discovered that the most effective treatment was to combine active chemical components ...

Study shows non-hallucinogenic cannabinoids are effective anti-cancer drugs

October 14, 2013
New research has shown that the non-hallucinogenic components of cannabis could act as effective anti-cancer agents.

Cannabinoids may soothe certain skin diseases, say researchers

April 18, 2017
Cannabinoids contain anti-inflammatory properties that could make them useful in the treatment of a wide-range of skin diseases, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Medical marijuana helpful for cancer-linked symptoms

December 18, 2014
(HealthDay)—Cannabis and cannabinoid pharmaceuticals can be helpful for nausea and vomiting, pain, and weight loss associated with cancer, according to research published online Dec. 10 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Mixed findings regarding quality of evidence supporting benefit of medical marijuana

June 23, 2015
In an analysis of the findings of nearly 80 randomized trials that included about 6,500 participants, there was moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids (chemical compounds that are the active principles ...

Possible benefit for cannabinoids in rheumatic conditions

June 6, 2016
(HealthDay)—Cannabinoids may have limited benefits in rheumatic conditions, with some potential benefit in terms of pain relief and effect on sleep, according to a review published in the May issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Recommended for you

Researchers use a molecular Trojan horse to deliver chemotherapeutic drug to cancer cells

February 23, 2018
A research team at the University of California, Riverside has discovered a way for chemotherapy drug paclitaxel to target migrating, or circulating, cancer cells, which are responsible for the development of tumor metastases.

Study tracks evolutionary transition to destructive cancer

February 23, 2018
Evolution describes how all living forms cope with challenges in their environment, as they struggle to persevere against formidable odds. Mutation and selective pressure—cornerstones of Darwin's theory—are the means ...

Lab-grown 'mini tumours' could personalise cancer treatment

February 23, 2018
Testing cancer drugs on miniature replicas of a patient's tumour could help doctors tailor treatment, according to new research.

An under-the-radar immune cell shows potential in fight against cancer

February 23, 2018
One of the rarest of immune cells, unknown to scientists a decade ago, might prove to be a potent weapon in stopping cancer from spreading in the body, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Putting black skin cancer to sleep—for good

February 22, 2018
An international research team has succeeded in stopping the growth of malignant melanoma by reactivating a protective mechanism that prevents tumor cells from dividing. The team used chemical agents to block the enzymes ...

Cancer risk associated with key epigenetic changes occurring through normal aging process

February 22, 2018
Some scientists have hypothesized that tumor-promoting changes in cells during cancer development—particularly an epigenetic change involving DNA methylation—arise from rogue cells escaping a natural cell deterioration ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.