Study says marijuana chemical has anti-cancer properties
According to a study released on Thursday, Spanish researchers from the Complutense University in Madrid, together with scientists of other universities, found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the main chemical in the infamous narcotic agent, marijuana - likely helps the annihilation of brain cancer cells.
The research, which proposes to bring to improve the prospects of anti-cancer therapies, said that THC causes cancer cells to go through a process called autophagy - the breakdown that takes place when the cells fundamentally self-digest.
Based on the findings of the research, which was first carried out on the laboratory mice, and then substantiated on two patients - suffering from the highly aggressive and recurrent brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme - in an experimental trial, the scientists came to the conclusion that THC and associated "cannabinoids" depicted properties of being "a new family of potential anti-tumoral agent."
The study which has been published in the April edition of the US Journal of Clinical Investigation, on of the scientists, Guillermo Velasco, reported: "We found that the anti-tumoral action of THC is based on its ability to activate an intracellular signalling pathway that promotes the activation of a cellular process called `autophagy'. The activation of this pathway leads to cancer cell death."