Research has found active chemicals in cannabis can help fight the growth of prostate cancer.
In the latest research conducted in Spain, scientists found compounds identical to those in cannabis halted the growth of therapy-resistant prostate cancer cells in the laboratory, as well as reducing the size of tumours in mice with the disease.
Cannabis chemicals called cannabinoids have already been investigated as potential anti-cancer treatments and shown to inhibit a range of cancers, but for this latest study the team tested a cannabinoid mimic or “analogue” and synthetic cannabinoid on three lines of human prostate cancer cells.
Two of the cells were advanced forms of the cancer which no longer respond to hormonal therapies, which reduces a man`s chances of survival.
The compounds unlocked a cascade of biological signalling pathways by attaching to a cannabinoid receptor molecule called CB2.
These in turn stopped the cancer cells and forced them to commit suicide, a process known as apoptosis.
Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: “This is interesting research which opens a new avenue to explore potential drug targets but it is at a very early stage and more work needs to be done to explore the potential of the cannabinoids in treatment.”
Copyright Press Association 2009