Tampa, FL: Compounds in marijuana inhibit the spread of several forms of herpes known to cause cancer, according to clinical findings published this week in the journal BMC Medicine.
Researchers at the University of South Florida Health Sciences Center determined that the cannabinoid THC selectively prevents the activation and replication of gamma herpes viruses. The viruses, which can lie dormant for years within white blood cells before becoming active and spreading to other cells, have been shown to increase an individual's chances of developing cancers such as Karposis Sarcoma, Burkitts lymphoma, and Hodgkins disease.
Researchers found that THC protected cells infected with a mouse gamma herpes virus from reactivation. Cells not cultured with THC died when the virus was reactivated. The results may "provide the foundation for the development of antiviral strategies utilizing ... derivatives of THC," authors concluded.
Scientists noted that THC did not prevent the spread of herpes simplex-1, the virus responsible for cold sores and genital herpes.
In August, clinical data published in the journal Cancer Research determined that pot's constituents selectively inhibit the growth of malignant brain tumors in animals and in human tissue.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Abstracts of the BMC Medicine study are available online at: