Monday, April 15, 2024

Medical Marijuana May Help With Brain Cancer

Brain cancer has been in the news – it is a devastating diagnosis, but there is hope cannabis could help.

Michael Strahan has gone public with one of his daughters has brain cancer. Since then, she is having a slow recovery she is sharing to bring awareness brain cancer is an all age disease. Over 100,000 people are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor annually. Brain and other CNS tumors are the fifth most common cancer. Over 30,000 children are currently diagnosed with a brain tumor. Over 1 million people are living with a diagnosis of a primary brain tumor and it can be a rough road. Early research suggest medical marijuana may help with brain cancer.

RELATED: Science Says Medical Marijuana Improves Quality Of Life

It is proven cannabis has medical benefits, but more research needs to be done to better define how it can have an impact and help patients. Currently, the evidence that cannabis-based products can treat brain tumours or brain cancer is limited. Preliminary studies from the lab suggest that cannabinoid chemicals THC and CBD can stop glioblastoma (GBM) cells from growing, causing them to die and disrupting the blood supply to the tumour cells.

Photo by pilli/Getty Images

There has been some data and research around glioma which looks promising. Glioma is a growth of cells that starts in the brain or spinal cord. The cells in a glioma look similar to healthy brain cells called glial cells. Glial cells surround nerve cells and help them function. As a glioma grows it forms a tumor.

Preliminary studies from the lab suggest that cannabinoid chemicals THC and CBD can stop glioblastoma (GBM) cells from growing, causing them to die and disrupting the blood supply to the tumour cells.

In 2021, an early-stage trial led by Professor Susan Short suggested that adding a specific blend of these chemicals – in the form of a drug called Sativex – to chemotherapy could potentially help treat recurrent GBMs more effectively.

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CXannabis-based drug Sativex approved as a prescription medicine. The drug, used in treating multiple sclerosis, was also found to be tolerable in combination with chemotherapy, with the potential to extend survival, in a phase I trial in glioblastomas.

A phase II trial, led by the University of Leeds, is assessing whether adding Sativex – an oral spray containing cannabinoids THC and CBD – to chemotherapy, could extend life for thousands diagnosed with a recurrent glioblastoma. Currently, it has an average survival of less than 10 months.

Scientific research indicates medical cannabis and cannabinoids could become key therapy in modern neuro-oncology; however, further studies are needed to establish outcomes and  dosage.

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