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Cannabis could be used to fight cancer, say Norwich-based researchers

PUBLISHED: 11:57 14 July 2014 | UPDATED: 12:23 14 July 2014

Cannabis could be used to reduce tumour growth in cancer patients, UEA scientists said.

Cannabis could be used to reduce tumour growth in cancer patients, UEA scientists said.

Cannabis could be used to reduce tumour growth in cancer patients, Norwich-based scientists have said.

New research from the University of East Anglia has revealed the drug’s main psychoactive ingredient - tetrahydrocannabino (THC) - could be responsible for its success in shrinking tumours. It is hoped that the findings could help develop a synthetic equivalent with anti-cancer properties. But researchers warned that cancer sufferers should not be tempted to self-medicate.

The research, carried out with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain, used samples of human breast cancer cells to induce tumours in mice.

Dr Peter McCormick, from the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) school of pharmacy, said THC’s anti-cancer properties have been known for some time but the study had identified the receptors responsible for fighting tumours.

He added: “Our findings help explain some of the well-known but still poorly understood effects of THC at low and high doses on tumour growth. There has been a great deal of interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms behind how marijuana, and specifically THC, influence cancer pathology.”

“There has also been a drive in the pharmaceutical industry to create synthetic equivalents that might have anti-cancer properties.

“By identifying the receptors involved we have provided an important step towards the future development of therapeutics that can take advantage of the interactions we have discovered to reduce tumour growth.”

“Our research uses an isolated chemical compound and using the correct concentration is vital.

“Cancer patients should not use cannabis to self-medicate, but I hope that our research will lead to a safe synthetic equivalent being available in the future.”


  • This reasearch has been known for years and people have self medicated for decades. That it should only now dawn on scientists and on our charity caroussels that this drug has far more benefits than negatives, when they're faced with the economic returns regulated markets achieve elsewhere, is typical. Decades of a costly prohibition have left this country trailing, and there is no way that patented products can stop self medication, because people have experienced the benefits. We might as well decriminalise it now before we ruin many more youngsters life's with a criminal record.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • The want a synthetic type so they can patent the product and make billions from it. Yet again its profit not people that dictates this ideal. The reason they also say not to self medicate is because they know it will work and they will loss money.

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    skunk funk

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • So you don't need a giant greenhouse with all its associated costs.

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    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Why make a synthetic equivalent, if the natural stuff works fine???

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    Lord Elf

    Monday, July 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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