Study: Non-Psychotropic Plant Cannabinoids Counteract Prostate Cancer Growth

[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

The administration of non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids, in particular cannabidiol (CBD), inhibit proliferation and selectively trigger cell suicide of prostate carcinoma, according to preclinical data to be published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. (Read the study abstract online here.)

An international team of investigators from Italy and the United Kingdom assessed the anti-cancer properties of various non-psychoactive synthetic and botanical cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol) and THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), in vivo and in vitro (in culture).

Researchers reported, “The … data presented here allow us to suggest that non-THC cannabinoids, and CBD in particular, retard proliferation and cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) of prostate carcinoma growth via a combination of cannabinoid receptor-independent cellular and molecular mechanisms. … We suggest that non-THC cannabinoids … might provide the basis for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of prostate carcinoma.”

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in American males, trailing only behind lung cancer.

Authors of the study concluded, “[T]he effects reported here, together with previously reported cannabinoid receptor-mediated effects of THC on PCCs (prostate carcinoma cells), might provide momentum to clinical studies on cannabinoids and cannabis extracts as a therapy for human prostate carcinoma, either in addition to currently used treatments, or as stand alones, as suggested also by our present in vivo data.”

A separate study of cannabinoids on prostate cancer published in the present edition of the Indian Journal of Neurology also concluded, “Prostate cancer cells possess increased expression of both cannabinoid 1 and 2 receptors, and stimulation of these results in decrease in cell viability, increased apoptosis, and decreased androgen receptor expression and prostate-specific antigen excretion. … It is our conclusion that it would be of interest to conduct clinical trials involving medicinal cannabis or other cannabinoid agonists, comparing clinical markers such as PSA with controls, especially in men with bone metastatic prostate cancer, whom would not only benefit from the possible anti-androgenic effects of cannabinoids but also from analgesia of bone pain, improving quality of life, while reducing narcotic consumption and preventing opioid dependence.”

Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids have been consistently shown to be potent anti-cancer inhibitors in preclinical models, halting the proliferation of glioma cells, breast carcinoma, lung carcinoma, and lymphoma, among other cancer cell lines. NORML’s literature review of this data appears here.

Full text of the study, “Non-THC cannabinoids counteract prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms,” will appear in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

35 thoughts

  1. Other countries are allowed to do positive cannabis research, however the DEA has blocked all such research in the USA. If it wasn’t for cannabis prohibition and the DEA, who knows, we may have found a cure for cancer by now.

  2. DEA needs to be ended. “Border Enforcement” makes a lot more sense than this “Drug Enforcement” we are suffering under. Police need to be doing policing, not nitpicking what flowers you might be ingesting.

  3. You know, you can bitch about the Drug Enforcement Administration blocking medical research. We can always count on them for this Malthusian disaster. With dealers selling cannabis out of one pocket and heroin, meth. and hard shit out of the others you can count on the sales pitch being made, like outa weed but got… That fuels the gateway theory in their view, but results in more people involved with hard drugs than if there were a separation of cannabis from hard drugs.

    The prohibitionists do not want a cure for cancer, do not want as few hard drugs addicts and deaths as possible, do not want to slim down the prison overpopulation to capacity. Right now, they are over capacity. If the prison population was reduced just to capacity as a result of legalization the prison guards wouldn’t have to lose jobs by furlough or firing, rather through attrition.

    You know, the feds still have the mindset that they can waste money. With a majority of people for MMJ, for calling the feds off in MMJ states, and for outright legalization in the polls, IT IS A WASTE OF MONEY!

    It looks like no one in D.C. has the chutzpah to de-fund federal cannabis prohibition, not even for MMJ states. No one wants to stick out their neck, not even to avoid a double dip. Brits and Italians did this bit of research, yet they are not legalizing in response to the pressure the Dutch are putting on tourists with the weedpass. I’d think the Eurozone would need the revenues and be ready to cave, as well. The economy needs the source of revenue and cost savings.

    It looks like they’re going to keep running the economy into the ground all by themselves because austerity alone is not cutting it. PIIGS, meaning PIIS could fall if things get worse. I say, go for the money stream. Have cannabis traded in U.S. dollars. Fund a presence in Afghanistan and other undermodernized regions, build infrastructure, mine the resources. They want the creature comforts. Just make it fair trade.

    It’ll be a nice change to have safer streets, quality assurance of the cannabis products.

    I’m figuring this all ought to be orchestrated by 2014 along with the troop reductions in Afghanistan. Got to solve the problem in Syria and Lebanon to get some good Red Leb back on the U.S. market in quantity.

  4. We can all learn from the movie Scarface. Marijuana isn’t the same as cocaine. We all know that by now. It should be legal. Until the violence from Mexico hits America, Cocaine will never be legal. Even in the 80’s when Miami became the murder capital of the world, policy makers insisted prohibition would work. Does it? Not until it affects you.

  5. Cannabis is an absolutely incredible plant. It’s uses exceed that of just about any other plant. It is truly a shame that the DEA continues their expensive and totally failed efforts to rid the planet of it. I think the majority of the people in the US would like to rid the planet of the DEA! Indeed, I think the majority of people on this planet would like to be rid of the American DEA and their fascist regime! Only then can we progress and finally use cannabis the way GOD (or nature) intended.

  6. Why not Just simply smoke an Indica strain that is known for it’s high CBD content?

    Think of all the “stoners” over the years that have inadvertenly benifited from this herb without knowing it?

    No wonder the powers that be, are jealous

    It’s almost like banning steroids from the olympics,not because of the side effects,but,because of the competitive edge.

    “How dare you smoke something for recreation that also is a health benifit at the same time…’you think that this is an easy life?

    “book em dano

  7. Hundreds of years from now kids are going to read in history books about how the US gov’t knew cannabis could cure cancer but wouldn’t allow it. Those kids are going to view the US gov’t like Hitler and wonder…how could that happen?

  8. Prediction: A few years from now lawmakers will be introducing legislation to make cannabis use mandatory as a non-toxic, cost-effective healthcare measure.

  9. My Dad doesn’t have time…his prostrate cancer spread to his bone! Now he’s in constant pain and being pumped full of LEGAL poison provided by BIG PHARMA.This is tantamount to assisted suicide and creating an addiction to pain medication!I THOUGHT ASSISTED SUICIDE WAS AGAINST THE LAW!? The answer is right in front of their faces!! I think HITLER-ESK is mild to what this government (and many others before it) will be thought of as.

  10. ‘Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids have been consistently shown to be potent anti-cancer inhibitors in preclinical models, halting the proliferation of glioma cells, breast carcinoma, lung carcinoma, and lymphoma, among other cancer cell lines.’

    This is just reproducible science, never high on the drug war’s value system.

  11. TALK RADIO HOST, Jenn Jackson:!/profile.php?id=100001628048803
    Date: June 3, 2012
    Time: 12 Noon to 1:30 PM
    Place: Radio or Internet (Visit Jenn Jackson for details)

    Dear TN Norml Chapter,

    You and our members are invited to join us for a discussion on MMJ (Medical Marijuana.) I’m sure you recognize the name of Mr. Rick Simpson, he and I will be
    Guest for that day’s show and we look forward to sharing MMJ updates with listeners. You’re also invited to call into the show to chat with us during the broadcast, we highly
    value the perspective of each individual and we will certainly be a revelation to your new members. If any of your members call in to chat with us during the show, please remind them to introduce themselves as TN NORML Chapter Members.

    My primary focus on this show will be to encourage voters to simply VOTE!

    All The Best,

    Mr. Ricky Dean Seymour
    NORML BLOG NAME: Tennessee Activist

  12. @The Oracle you hit the nail right on the head. It all about the paper.
    The goverment has created a monopoly on the medicinal value of cannabis while implementing the dynamics of doublespeak and the tactics of a police state to maintain the grip of legality and illegality and protecting the corporate interests and growing the bureaucracy simutaneously while unsurping the rights of millions of Americans in the process. A true dichotomy of hypocrisy and greed all.

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