Study: Non-Psychoactive Plant Cannabinoids Possess Synergistic Anti-Cancer Activity In Leukemia Cell Lines

The concomitant administration of various non-psychoactive plant cannabinoids demonstrates synergistic anti-cancer activity in human leukemia cells, according to preclinical trial data published online this week in the journal Anticancer Research.

Investigators from Saint George’s, University of London assessed the anti-cancer potential of three non-psychoactive cannabinoids (cannabidiol, cannabigerol, and cannabigevarin) and their respective acids on two types of leukaemia cell lines. Authors reported that the administration of cannabinoids in concert with one another resulted in “in additive/mildly synergistic interaction.”

They concluded: “Our findings indicate that cannabinoids act with each other in a way such that doses for therapy could be reduced without a significant loss of activity. … [T]his study adds further support to the idea that cannabinoids can have a role in the cancer setting, not only as single agents, but also in combination with each other.”

Commenting on the study in a press release, lead author Wai Lui said: “These agents are able to interfere with the development of cancerous cells, stopping them in their tracks and preventing them from growing. In some cases, by using specific dosage patterns, they can destroy cancer cells on their own. Used in combination with existing treatment, we could discover some highly effective strategies for tackling cancer. Significantly, these compounds are inexpensive to produce and making better use of their unique properties could result in much more cost effective anti-cancer drugs in future.”

Plant cannabinoids as well as endogenous cannabinoids have been consistently shown to be potent anti-cancer inhibitors in preclinical models, halting the proliferation of glioma cancer cells, prostate cancer cells, breast carcinoma, lung carcinoma, and lymphoma, among other cancer cell lines. NORML’s review of much of this literature appears online here.

An abstract of the study, “Enhancing the activity of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids in vitro through modifications to drug combinations and treatment schedules,” appears online here.

26 thoughts

  1. This is getting so cool! Wouldn’t that be terrible, though, if we’ve essentially had an effective preventive, treatment and even cure for cancer and have been systematically destroying it! It’s like the plot to some Tales from the Crpyt episode. Seriously, I wonder how many DEA agents, Drug War cheerleaders, Drug War profiteers, and other such benighted people have had loved ones suffering and dying from cancer while actively fighting against the cure? I wonder how many of those agents burning and destroying MJ crops had loved ones with cancer who could have benefitted from their target?

    Note: I’m not saying it’s definitely a cure, but damn, it looks like that’s the direction it’s going. And even as a preventative and an effective treatment (esp. compared to chemo), that’s more than we’ve had in a long time.

    The DEA and various Drug War cheerleaders/profiteers will have even more crimes to answer for, even more innocent lives destroyed to answer for, even more innocent blood on their hands, once legalization becomes the law of the land. Man, I fantasize about trying them for crimes against humanity, though that justice will never happen I’m afraid.

  2. “these compounds are inexpensive to produce and making better use of their unique properties could result in much more cost effective anti-cancer drugs in future.”

    This is the part pharma doesn’t want people to know especially if it meant some people could treat cancer themselves. There is no way drug corporations could make a signifigant amount of money of this they will only lose money and a lot of money.

  3. What are they going to say, when it turns out that marijuana was the cure for cancer all along ? What will they say when it comes to light that they condemned millions upon millions to die and the cure was readily available ? Personally, I’ve been dealing with severe depression since I was a child and marijuana switches it off like a light and does it in less than a minute and now, it has become so expensive that I can no longer afford it. Damn the prohibitionists all to hell.

  4. But the D.E.A. and most members of Congress know better because they are medical doctors, and have examined the totality of the medical evidence. NOT!

  5. I wonder what aspects of this research will make it not credible for any consideration of re-scheduling cannabis ?
    (There is always something)

    [Paul Armentano responds: Because the findings are preclinical and have not been replicated in a large Phase III clinical trial.]

  6. It’s been said before, but if these findings were about any other plant or substance, is there any question that it make headlines in all the major media and attract generous grants and other funding to expand research? Maybe it will happen this time…we’ll see.

  7. [Paul Armentano responds: Because the findings are preclinical and have not been replicated in a large Phase III clinical trial.]

    I’m pretty sure that the Feds, Big Pharma, and the DEA will do their best to make sure that these finds stay preclinical. The last thing they seem to want is proof of medical utility in any way shape or form. They seem to prefer generating lies and propaganda and locking up users in huge numbers…

    [Paul Armentano responds: Yes, there exists a Catch 22. The DEA demands P3 trials take place, but the illegality of cannabis largely prevents such trials from being conducted. Then the DEA points to the lack of such trials as a justification not to reschedule. In fact, this was the agency’s rational before the US Court of Appeals, which the Court upheld.]

  8. The DEA and their declining alliances would silently respond to that as “medical heresy”, because it is written that marijuana has no medical value, and it would still remained in their own supreme law in which the U.S. had quickly adopted it in 1970 without medical review.

  9. And yet Cannabis has no medical uses. We have been lied to for far too long. Everything that is harmful is legal,even promoted. Yet a harmlees PLANT was deemed evil? “Society” is ass backwards.

  10. This is where I say, ‘To thwart the advance of medical science is a crime against us all.’

    Marijuana possesses anti-tumor properties. We’ve known this since 1975. Meanwhile, a physically addicting carcinogen remains perfectly legal.

    Seems like a drug policy based on reason and science would help drive down health care costs.

  11. @Galileo Galilei – IF our Govt truly wanted to drive down health care costs, and to do what is best for the people of this country, they would embrace marijuana instead of prohibiting it! The sad fact is that the Feds have profited greatly from prohibition at the expense of the American people they are supposed to be serving. It is totally disgraceful and those responsible should have a prison cell prepared especially for them. Unfortunately, since they control the police, the army, the laws, and our courts, I don’t think that will happen any time soon if ever…

    I don’t think I’m being cynical. I think I’m being realistic but I sure don’t like this reality.

  12. I was diagnosed in july 2005 with Chronic Myleod Leukemia and have been using cannabis to help me with side effects of chemo taken daily. Time for SC legislation to wake the hell up and people such as myself need to stand up together to let our government see our side of it. SC needs to wake up soon. Its our life and should be our decision .

  13. Patients rights should allow a free a democratic nation to use medical cannabis, disregarding the federal prohibition because eventually their own will experience the death of loved ones due solely to the ignorance of law enforcement and the collusion of our medical care industries. The DEA officials should be held responsible for their part in cannabis prohibition tactics and the erosion of our civil liberties.

  14. There is so much more to this story as well, like the synergistic effects of flavinoids and terpenes in conjunction with the phytocannabinoids mentioned in this article. I cannot wait for the day when society is truly geared towards the betterment of the masses, unlike today’s oppressive tendencies.

  15. @Miles

    You’re being realistic, but you’re using an attitude in your writing that is counterproductive to the truth your writing expresses.

  16. @Galileo Galilei – Your point taken! I’m just so disgusted with the way the Feds run America; “The Land of the Free” that I have started to hate and despise them (those select few that are responsible and have the power to change the marijuana laws). I fully realize that it is not the totality of the Federal Govt that I feel so strongly against. Probably, more than 50% of those working as a part of the Federal Govt would like to see marijuana legalized and regulated. That portion of the Federal Govt I hate the most are the ones that spread propaganda, continue to bust and lock up non-violent marijuana consumers and then steal their possessions. That portion I refer to are primarily the DEA and those in Congress that support their vile efforts.

    Nevertheless, point taken, I will try to be more positive!

  17. It’s coming… The end of the drug war, as we know it. Visualize it, and it will manifest itself. We all know the motivations of the various groups for keeping it illegal. But the amount of revenue savings, and income production, far outweighs the present bleeding of the Federal budget by agencies that can find plenty of real criminal activity to pursue. Much safer for law enforcement to regulate legal growers, that to be chasing armed drug cartel gangs. Fees to grow, products to tax, peaceful users. It’s a win, win, win, for the country!

  18. “Significantly, these compounds are inexpensive to produce and making better use of their unique properties could result in much more cost effective anti-cancer drugs in future.” Ring a bell the want to synthesize it to profit.. Im tired of these games GMO’s are pulling stay the fuck out of my life and leave my plant alone i don’t want synthetic anything!! As soon as its synthetic you’ll never see the real thing again legal.. Opium= raw oxycottins, benzocane lidocane sounds alot like hmm cocaine.. Wake up!! the plants being takin right infront of you, by people that just want to patent anything!!

  19. @doobie- I don’t believe that ending the drug warb will solve our financial problems.. Through out our time as a country the citizens have gotten used to the same taxes we fought a Revolution 4.. Now people are open to tax just to allow something that should already be allowed.. See my problem.. Get a new tax from nothing, fall right into the Gov getting used to the cash then spending more money.. The amount of soldiers that came back and went into law-enforcement is staggering.. Layoffs up the ass if buds are free on the streets.. unemployment numbers jump.. Just saying..

  20. @Young Smoker- I understand where you are coming from, But, I think that we need to tax it’s sales and such to help out our country.

    Our land is in dire straights and personally, I’d like to be able to say as a grower of this awesome plant,”I helped to save our country when it was in need”.

    By growing hemp for its medicine and selling it to the masses, we are healing the masses. If we grew hemp for its medicine and allowed the gov. to get a cut of the profits then we are healing the government and the masses. (it made sense in my head) As messed up as the government is, it is ours and WE have to fix it, and I see taxed hemp meds as a good place to start.

    I agree that alot of the guys returning from combat are going into law enforcement, but as I returned from my third tour I turned in our direction and started working on our side, so yeah there probably are more vets on the LE side. But we vets are on this side too and proud of it!

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