Previous research has shown that cannabinoids can help lessen side effects of anti-cancer therapies.
Now a new British Journal of Pharmacology review has examined their potential for the direct treatment of cancer.
Phytocannabinoids are the most notable type of cannabinoid, and they occur naturally in the cannabis plant.
Studies have shown that cannabinoids may stop cancer cells from dividing and invading normal tissue, and they may block the blood supply to tumours.
Some studies also indicate that cannabinoids may enhance the body’s immune response against the growth and spread of tumours.
“There is still a need for additional anti-cancer drugs. In this context accumulating data from preclinical models suggest that cannabinoids elicit anti-cancer effects on several levels of cancer progression,” said author Prof. Burkhard Hinz, of Rostock University Medical Center, in Germany. “Clinical studies are now urgently needed to investigate the impact of cannabinoids on cancer growth and progression in patients.”