By / July 5, 2020

Cannabis could help protect healthy cells during chemotherapy

At the forefront of the fight against cancer is the introduction of drugs capable of killing cancer cells without harming healthy ones. A study by the Hebrew University says that combining anti-cancer drugs with CBD would allow the cancer cell to penetrate and die from within.

The study was conducted by the Hebrew University’s School of Medicine and Neuroscience Unit and published in the Frontiers in Pharmacology Journal. The results found that combining CBD with chemotherapy would allow the latter to be introduced directly into the cancer cells. This direct injection would make the treatment much more effective and efficient, as well as reduce its side effects.

The new method, developed in the research, would inject through the small and already existing “TRP channels” the chemotherapy drugs thus being more effective. In that way, there would be a greater benefit since the drug would be directed only to the cancer cells, it would avoid harming the healthy cells and it would be more effective.

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Cannabis boosted the effective of chemotherapy and protected healthy cells

During the study, researchers introduced the chemotherapy drug Doxorubicin directly into the liver cancer cells and killed them from within. This drug is very effective in treating certain types of cancer, although it causes sometimes serious side effects.

The researchers thought that if the drug was introduced directly into the cancer cells and through the TRP channels, it might reduce these side effects, thus making the outcome of doxorubicin more effective. This is where CBD could play a role.

Cannabidiol activates the TRPV2 protein which in turn opens TRP channels in liver cancer cells and thus directly enters doxorubicin. That is, CBD would help chemotherapy to be inserted into and out of the cancer cells, without harming the surrounding healthy cells. Other substances are also known to be able to open these TRP channels such as 2-APB.

The research could lead to new options for cancer treatments

The researchers compared doxorubicin treatment with CBD and also the same drug with 2-APB. The result was more effective and with lower doses when using CBD.

“We have shown that a combination of CBD or 2-APB, which activates TRP channels, together with doxorubicin results in significantly higher concentrations of doxorubicin in liver cancer cells compared to cells exposed to doxorubicin alone,” the researchers concluded.

“In addition, we have shown that low doses of doxorubicin in combination with 2-APB or CBD result in a significant decrease in the number of living liver cancer cells and their colonies compared to doxorubicin alone. Finally, we have also shown that the combination of doxorubicin with CBD kills many more liver cancer cells and their colonies than doxorubicin with 2-APB.

Another study published by Oncogene’s Oncology Journal also found that mice with pancreatic cancer doubled their lifespan when CBD was added along with chemotherapy, compared to chemotherapy alone.

More research will be needed, but it appears that CBD may help chemotherapy be more effective.


(Featured image by Colin Behrens via Pixabay)

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