The researchers from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine have conducted an experiment where they analyzed the number of cannabinoids against various types of colorectal cancer cells of humans.
Among all the tested cannabinoids, only 10 synthetic cannabinoids showed a promising result by inhibiting the growth of cancer. These cannabinoids include the famous compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both of these showed up to the mark results.
The results of this study are published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research and is available online to view.
This initial experiment has lead to the scientists towards a journey where the detailed study will explain the anticancer effects. Chances are that cannabis may become a part of cancer drugs in the future.
What connects cannabinoids and colorectal cancer?
The World Cancer Research Fund finds colorectal cancer to be the third most common type of cancers that is affecting people in the entire world. Even in the United States of America, the national surveillance program found colorectal cancer to be 8.1% of all reported cases of cancer in the year 2018.
For decades, colorectal cancer was never diagnosed and caused the death of thousands of people. Only with the research, it was possible to understand its mechanism of spread, risk factors, screening all of which lead to treatments.
The death rate due to colorectal cancer is more among elderly patients, usually above 50 years of age. There is no obvious reason behind it but the scientists assume that obesity, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes add up to the risk.
The term cannabinoids represent a huge group of compounds that work by using cannabinoid receptors. The receptor is a protein port that works as a signal-receiving part. Once the attachment is completed, it can alter the way in which different cells act.
Cannabinoids have three categories. First is called phytocannabinoids that are a natural part of the cannabis plant. Note that cannabis and marijuana are the same plants. Next category is called endocannabinoids, which show up within the body. The last category is of synthetic cannabinoids that are artificially made by humans.
The functions of cannabinoids make them a potential source of medical significance. They are effective in the treatment of stress, pain, and anxiety. However, this new study highlights the anticancer potential of cannabinoids.
Which type of cannabinoids acts against cancer?
In this study, the scientists worked on the synthetic cannabinoids. From hundreds of cannabinoids, only 10 synthetic cannabinoids showed a potential of inhibited cell viability against seven types of colorectal cancer cells from human sources.
Cancer cells grow in different ways. That’s why the research team checked cannabinoids on seven types of cancer cell. Each of them had a different cause or mutation ending to cancer but not all of them were colon cells.
Each cancer cell was cultured for 8 hours in the laboratory and then it was checked against the compound. The results were noted after 48 hours. Each compound that showed even a little inhibitory activity on cancer cells was also tested on the remaining six types of cancer cells.
After this complete analysis, the researchers also tested the same cancer cells against the two well-known phytocannabinoids THC and CBD. These natural cannabinoids showed minimal activity on the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
More research is required to understand how these cannabinoids compound inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Once this mechanism is clear, there are chances to develop powerful medicines against colorectal cancer by using cannabinoids.