The Endocannabinoid System, CBD, and Cancer – The Story So Far

If there has been one element that has been put under the microscope recently as an anti-cancer agent, it is the endocannabinoid system (ECS).  Research that has been done to see the results of both the blocking of the growth of tumorand it’s spread, has seen a transformation within the CB1 and CB2 receptors, making it a go-to for treatment of some types of cancer.

Clinical trials have been published and others have also still been continued via the use of cannabinoids or CBD, as an anti-cancer drug, as this is quicker and more cost-effective option than introducing a brand-new medication into the market. Further information on this can be found online, click here.

This article will investigate the possibilities of the ECS network (endocannabinoid system’s network)in the cancer treatment setting using anti-cancer natural therapies such as CBD as a prognostic biomarker.

In the Beginning, There Was THC

During the late 80s and early 90s, while searching for the pharma targets of THC or Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), when extracted from the cannabis Sativa plant or what we know as, marijuana, not only was the discovery related to finding the psychoactive properties of THC but also the consumption thereof.

Consumption of cannabinoid was rising worldwide and especially in the more developed countries; alot of research was being done to reinforce the “yes” vote towards legalizing marijuana. Considering the range of benefits found, such as treating pain, nausea, problems with cardiovascular and reproductive systems, for instance, cancer was also placed in the forefront to undergo tests.

The first mechanisms of the system that were revealed were the THC marking sites in the brain. These receptors were termed cannabinoid receptors or CBR, and back then it was not known about their abundance as neurotransmitters that play an essential part in the entire organism.

Endocannabinoid System

The ECS, Cannabinoidsand Treating Cancer

The mechanisms involved in the parameter of ECS as well as the progressions that it regulates include practically every pathway important in cancer biology. During these studies and trials, it was found that this extraordinary system showed anti-inflammatory and anti-metastatic effects on certain tumor types in specific settings, including acted as an antiangiogenic,antiproliferative, and proapoptotic.

The decrease in cancer cell action of many plant-derived components such as CBDs or synthetic cannabinoids has been recognized in various in vitro cancer models. It is important to keep in mind that lab experiments have shown that some (rats) face some form of growth while others induce cell-death, thus the deciding factor is in the type of receptor that is involved and activated. These studies are still undergoing.

Initial studies completed to assess cannabinoid antitumoral accomplishment was done by a gentleman named Guzmán and his collaborators in 2003. Their research exhibitedthat this natural compoundcoulddelaythe growth of tumor. Due to the ethical and legal issues of it being a schedule 1 drug, the first studies were conducted in terminal patients with persistent tumors.

These initial trials shed the light on two things, the comforting effects of the compound as well as the potential anti-tumoral properties of cannabinoids, however, both were done either as part of a partnering of other drugs and on their own.

Other studies using controlled groups were implemented. One using a placebo and the other using a combination of THC and CBD. The 12 patients that were given the THC and CBD lived one year longer 83% versus 53% of the placebo group. Thus, the controlled group lived on average 550 days more than the 370 days of the other group.

In conclusion, there is an immense amount of data that shows a positive influence of using cannabinoids together with the ECS, to read more about this you can try this link, and as an anti-cancer alternative, however, the underlying situation is that it has been seen to treat specific types and using specific formats and dosages, some of which are also combined with other medications, plus there is the issue of ethics and legality, which hopefully sooner or later gets the green light.

A lot of countries have legalized cannabis for medicinal and research use, for instance in the US alone, 30 of the states have given it the go-ahead in a controlled environment and only for medicinal purposes. Canada became one of the first states to legalize it for recreational use and other countries such as Germany, Italy, Greece, Romania, Poland, and Norway have also done the same for medical use only.

It seems these clinical trials will continue to go on and there is a light at the end of the tunnel for all conditions and purposes, so sit tight, this ride is not over yet.