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Israel Will Study Anti-Tumor Effects of Cannabis In Cancer Patients

October 10, 2014  |  Israeli researchers will soon begin evaluating the anti-tumor effects of cannabidiol, a nonpsychotropic cannabinoid, in patients with cancer.

Researchers at the Hassadah Medical Center in Jerusalem have announced their intent to conduct a Phase II clinical trial to assess the impact of CBD as single treatment among cancer patients. Only patients who have exhausted conventional anti-cancer treatments will be eligible to participate in the study. Once enrolled in the trial, participants will receive CBD for a period of eight weeks.
Full details of the forthcoming trial are available online from here.

Although data documenting the potent anti-cancer activity of various cannabinoids both in culture and in animals dates back to the mid-1970s, virtually no clinical trials seeking to reproduce these results in human subjects have been performed. The lone exception is a 2006 pilot study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, which reported that the intratumoral administration of THC was associated with reduced tumor cell proliferation in two of nine human subjects with GBM (glioblastoma), an aggressive form of brain cancer that is highly resistant to conventional anti-cancer treatments. However, THC treatment had little impact on subjects’ overall survival.
Anecdotal reports of cannabis-based treatments inhibiting cancer in humans have become increasingly common in recent years, but virtually no human data exists in the clinical literature substantiating this phenomenon aside from a pair of published case reports.
The first, published in 2011 in the journal Child’s Nervous System, reported on the mitigation of residual tumors in two adolescent subjects who regularly inhaled cannabis over a three-year period. “Neither patient received any conventional adjuvant treatment” during this time period,” investigators wrote. “The tumors regressed over the same period of time that cannabis was consumed via inhalation, raising the possibility that cannabis played a role in tumor regression.”

By Paul Armentano
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