Studies have shown that marijuana not only helps fight the symptoms of treating cancer but also the disease itself. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, often gets the credit for battling cancer cells, but a new study shows that THC isn't working alone. The study conducted at St. George's University of London, led by Dr. Wai Liu, examined six non-hallucinogenic chemicals found in marijuana, called cannabinoids. The study found that each of these chemicals showed anti-cancer properties as effective as THC. Furthermore, when these chemicals are used in combination, they have an even greater impact on cancer cells.
The anti-cancer properties of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary hallucinogenic component of cannabis, has been recognised for many years, but research into similar cannabis-derived compounds, known as cannabinoids, has been limited.
Of six cannabinoids studied, each demonstrated anti-cancer properties as effective as those seen in THC. Importantly, they had an increased effect on cancer cells when combined with each other.
Dr Liu said: "This study is a critical step in unpicking the mysteries of cannabis as a source of medicine. The cannabinoids examined have minimal, if any, hallucinogenic side effects, and their properties as anti-cancer agents are promising. These agents are able to interfere with the development of cancerous cells, stopping them in their tracks and preventing them from growing. In some cases, by using specific dosage patterns, they can destroy cancer cells on their own."
Opponents of medical marijuana often claim that the drug is unnecessary because of synthetic drugs like Marinol. However, Marinol contains only THC and none of the other cannabinoids proven to fight cancer, so it delivers only a fraction of the benefits that medical marijuana has to offer.