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Dr. Sean McAllister's research has shown that CBD, a compound from cannabis, shows great promise in fighting cancer [Medical Marijuana Oil]
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Dr. Sean McAllister’s research has shown that CBD, a compound from cannabis, shows great promise in fighting cancer
[Medical Marijuana Oil]

​Two of the major compounds in marijuana — THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) — have cancer-fighting properties, according to scientists researching them. But while the biological mechanisms THC uses are well documented, there are still mysteries surrounding the lesser-known CBD.

Clinical trials prove that CBD eases pain and inflammation, reports Dana M. Nichols at the Stockton Record. Sean McAllister, a scientist at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, has, along with his research associates, actually used CBD to shrink cancerous tumors.

But CBD doesn’t fit well in the already-discovered human receptors that fit THC, and scientists don’t yet know how it modulates some of the same systems as THC, according to McAllister.

Scientists Pierre Desprez, left, and Sean McAllister of the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco [Arizona Medical Marijuana Blog]
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Scientists Pierre Desprez, left, and Sean McAllister of the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco
[Arizona Medical Marijuana Blog]

“There is not a lot of data on it,” McAllister told the Record.

More than five years ago, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center began focusing their attention on CBD, and they now believe they are ready for human trials, using the compound to treat metastatic cancer, reports Carolyn Johnson at ABC 7 in San Francisco.

McAllister is investigating how CBD attacks a gene called Id-1 that is the key to the functioning of cancerous cells.

“If cancer cells adopt this protein, it allows them to metastasize,” McAllister said. “The hypothesis would be that if you can knock this gene down or inhibit it, then the cancer won’t metastasize.”

McAllister’s studies found that not only does CBD inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors, it also leads to programmed cell death, “which is very important if you want to kill these tumors so that they don’t grow back,” McAllister said.

“We found this one compound, CBD had a specific effect on metastatic cancer cells, very aggressive tumor cells,” said McAllister’s colleague, Pierre Desprez, Ph.D. “The bad cancer cells, the ones that spread throughout the body.”

“We find when you treat with CBD you down-regulate the expression of this protein, and that inhibits the disease process,” McAllister explained.

In their recently published study, the team documented that effect on brain cancer in a large-scale animal trial. Brain scans revealed the disruption of the tumor cells after the cannabidiol was used to switch off a specific gene regulator.

The team believes its current results, coupled with the nontoxic nature of CBD, are now encouraging enough to warrant human trials, for which they hope to get funding. In anticipation, the team has developed two research trial models, one for brain cancer and the other for breast cancer.

One big advantage to both cannabis-derived compounds — THC and CBD — is that they are virtually non-toxic, unlike many cancer drugs, painkillers, and other pharmaceuticals.

“There is no way to actually kill yourself with the natural compounds,” McAllister said. Overdoses of the kind that kill opiate/opioid users are impossible with cannabis, because, again, they are nontoxic, and besides they interact with different receptors.

“There are no cannabinoid receptors on the brain stem which controls breathing,” McAllister said. “It is quite a safe compound actually.”

 


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