Scientists Discover Evidence that Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells

The study was conducted in collaboration with the Australian Natural Therapeutics Group, which produced the unique high CBD cannabis strain used to treat participants.  

Researchers from the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute have found evidence that a modified cannabis formulation is capable of killing or inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

This is a potentially massive breakthrough, as it has demonstrated that cannabis can be used to fight cancer—without impacting the body's normal cells—rather than as form of relief for treatment side effects.

We are very pleased to see three years of collaboration with UON and HMRI deliver such exciting findings in the fight against cancer. ANTG remains committed to its patient-centric mission of understanding the massive therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis. We thank Matt Dun and the team for such encouraging insights into anti-cancer properties of our Australian grown CBD strain, Eve. Australian Natural Therapeutics Group CEO, Matthew Cantelo

The study was led by cancer researcher, Dr Matt Dun, and conducted in collaboration with biotech firm, Australian Natural Therapeutics Group (ANTG).

ANTG are also the company responsible for producing the low-THC/high-CBD cannabis strain—which has been dubbed "Eve"—that was used to treat patients in the study.

After performing comparisons between a high-THC cannabis variety and the Eve strain, Dun and his team found that the CBD formulation was significantly more effective at eliminating the cancer cells that are responsible for leukemia and glioblastomas.

"ANTG wanted me to test it against cancer, so we initially used leukaemia cells and were really surprised by how sensitive they were. At the same time, the cannabis didn't kill normal bone marrow cells, nor normal healthy neutrophils [white blood cells]. We then realised there was a cancer-selective mechanism involved, and we've spent the past couple of years trying to find the answer," Dun said.

"There are trials around the world testing cannabis formulations containing THC as a cancer treatment, but if you're on that therapy your quality of life is impacted. You can't drive, for example, and clinicians are justifiably reluctant to prescribe a child something that could cause hallucinations or other side-effects.

"The CBD variety looks to have greater efficacy, low toxicity and fewer side-effects, which potentially makes it an ideal complementary therapy to combine with other anti-cancer compounds."

This groundbreaking discovery comes hot on the heels of another recent paper from Dr Dun and his research team, entitled "Can Hemp Help?"—which was published in the scientific journal Cancers—that featured a review of more than 150 academic papers concerning the side effects, health benefits and potential implications of using THC and CBD to treat cancer.

Dun has also confirmed that the next stage of the study will involve further investigation into cancer cells—and why they are sensitive to cannabis when the body's normal cells are not—along with determining whether the response counts as clinically relevant.

"We need to understand the mechanism so we can find ways to add other drugs that amplify the effect, and week by week we're getting more clues. It's really exciting and important if we want to move this into a therapeutic," Dun said.

"Hopefully, our work will help to lessen the stigma behind prescribing cannabis, particularly varieties that have minimal side-effects, especially if used in combination with current standard-of-care therapies and radiotherapy. Until then, though, people should continue to seek advice from their usual medical practitioner."


This pot stock could reach new heights in 2020 due to Coronavirus

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Investors can also start picking up shares at rock bottom prices, as global investor sentiment continues to dampen thanks to COVID-19.

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Hugo Gray
Hugo Gray

Hugo Gray is a Melbourne-based journalist with a body of work that covers a diverse range of topics, including immigration law, sex technology, and now the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

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