Cannobots are Coming!! - RxLeaf
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Cannobots are Coming!!

Matt Weeks

There’s a breakthrough brewing in cancer treatment, thanks to the intersection of advanced technology and cannabis. Cannobots!

A medical cannabis company investing heavily in the development of nanotechnology has hit on a promising way to deliver acute doses of cannabis directly to tumors in the human body, helping to halt the growth of cancer cells.

Tumor in Cross Hairs to Represent Targeted Tumor Therapy

Image Credit: Mopic

The new therapy takes surgical precision to the next level. Scientists claim they are now capable of constructing tiny drone robots that can move through the human body, find cancerous tumors and treat them. It’s a concept that could revolutionize the way that we tackle some of the most deadly and difficult-to-treat diseases that afflict us.

Each nanobot drone measures only a fraction of an inch and is armed with a deployable payload of medicine. These “cannabots” have the ability to penetrate the body’s blood-brain barriers to locate and treat malicious tumors.

Concept digital drawing of nanobots fighting bacterial infection. Image Credit: KTS Design

The revolution comes thanks to two recent developments in nanotechnology: computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, which are fancy ways of saying that nanobots can now sense different kinds of structures within the human body. The new functionality allows these miniature medicinal practitioners to target cancerous tumors with pinpoint accuracy.

Through these micro-sensors, the newly engineered nanobots can recognize magnetic fields, temperature differences, radiation emission, light sources and even pH variants. When certain combinations of these properties are sensed, the nanobots can respond in specific, pre-programmed ways, such as deploying their medical loads.

Image Credit: Kit8

The new designs also allow the robots to move throughout the body without causing harm or alerting or triggering autoimmune responses. They act like miniature ninjas, silently stalking and defeating their enemies without leaving telltale traces of their presence.

This means that nanobots can deliver a micro treatment of strong medicine specifically to the part of the body that needs it most. This cuts down on the amount of the drug actually administered to patients because less of it is wasted through the body’s natural filtration systems.

Nanobot concept drawing

Image Credit: KTS Design

What’s more, the cutting-edge additions to nanotechnology make it possible for the robots to release their drugs over an extended time period. Instead of flooding the body with drugs from a single injection or blast of radiation, nanobots can be programmed to release their highly targeted payloads at specific intervals throughout the day.

More specifically, researchers have studied the ability of cannabinoids to increase the damage to lung cancer cells. In one study, lung tumor cells that were treated in part with cannabinoids took damage equal to that of high level of radiation therapy.

Lung Cancer

Image Credit: Shutterstock

And, because the nanotechnology can deliver a tiny dose of cannabinoids, patients can be treated without undergoing any of the side effects that can be so perilous to bodies already under immense immune pressure. Some studies show that the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids can be troubling for sensitive systems (think paranoia), and nanobot delivery methods can cut down on those issues.

This is doubly good for lung cancer patients, who for obvious reasons are discouraged from smoking cannabis.

The potential of nanobots also brings with it the possibility of understanding cannabis-based medicine on a more cellular level.

Cells against a dark background

Image Credit: Shutterstock

The study of medical cannabis remains in its infancy, making it ripe for new discoveries that bolster, not only the understanding of the plant itself, but also of the way that the human body’s natural cannabinoid receptors respond to biological stimuli. However, the semi-legality of the process makes widespread research and result sharing complicated.

As scientists continue to test out new components of cannabis through nanotechnological delivery services, our basic comprehension of how molecules, like THC, work on the body — and its disorders — will continue to grow in both quality and nuance.

Researchers in Lab at Microscopes

Image Credit: Gorodenkoff

While the lung cancer treatments mentioned in this article are still far off from everyday medical practice, and more research is needed to accurately discern the possibilities that currently remain only potentially useful, the news of forward-thinking treatments is news to celebrate.

The effect of cannabis on cancer is becoming more and more well known, and that knowledge will slowly permeate its way into common medical practice. While this alone is positive news, the technological discoveries being pushed by medical cannabis companies (with an eye for new treatments) may prove to be effective for other medicines as well.

Currently, the research is focusing on using medical cannabis to complement and improve more traditional lung cancer treatments. While no one can be sure where that research will lead, we can be positive that it won’t end there. Cancer is too big of an issue and cannabis is too promising of a treatment for anyone to back off now.

 

 

 

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Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."

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