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Cannabinoids Enhance Radiation Efficacy for Cancer, Study Shows
Researchers from St George’s University, London have published a study that suggests cannabinoids may enhance the therapeutic efficacy of cancer radiation therapy. They discovered that radiotherapy combined with administration of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) significantly reduced the growth of brain tumor (glioma) cells in mice. The study appeared in the November 14, 2014, on-line edition of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (The Combination of Cannabidiol and Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Enhances the Anticancer Effects of Radiation in an Orthotopic Murine Glioma Model).
In the study, mice injected with tumor cells received dosing of pure CBD and THC together with irradiation. After 21 days the size of tumors in mice that received combination CBD and THC treatment and irradiation were 7 to 9 fold less in size than tumors in mice that received only radiation treatment. Tumors of mice exposed to cannabinoids and irradiation were also found to have lower levels of growth and vascularization markers than observed in control groups.
The researchers speculate that CBD and THC, as well as other cannabinoids, improve radiation cancer therapy by interfering with cellular repair mechanisms. They further speculate that cannabinoids inhibit cancer development by reducing the growth of new capillary blood vessels. “It is now important to expand this study to understand the biologic basis of this enhancement, particularly the suggestion that vascularization may be impeded,” the authors commented.
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