A group of researchers at the University of East Anglia have shown how the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabino (THC), can reduce tumor growth in cancer patients. The researchers have discovered a previously unknown characteristic of THC that gives it the ability to shrink tumors.

The research, carried out with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain, used samples of human breast cancer cells to induce tumors in mice. After injecting the cannabis compound THC into the tumors the researchers found that the compound seemed to slow the growth of the tumors. They discovered that THC acts through two cell receptors (CB2 and GPR55) to provide anti-tumor effects.

Dr Peter McCormick, from UEA's school of Pharmacy, said: "THC, the major active component of marijuana, has anti-cancer properties". He continues, "We show that these effects are mediated via the joint interaction of CB2 and GPR55 - two members of the cannabinoid receptor family. Our findings help explain some of the well-known but still poorly understood effects of THC at low and high doses on tumor growth". ...[Continue reading on Earthpsyche]