Cancer Metastasis is Stopped by CBD and THC - RxLeaf
Top

Cancer Metastasis is Stopped by CBD and THC

Christine Kielhorn PHD
MRI image showing soft tissue malignant tumor in the shoulder

Tumor metastasis is the final, often fatal stage of cancer. New studies show THC and CBD can stop metastasis.

Metastasis is the process by which cancer cells escape the main part of the tumor and invade neighboring tissues and organs and/or travel to other parts of the body.  Certain types of cancers are more aggressive than others, and are therefore more likely to metastasize. These cancers are very difficult to treat and are fatal to patients. In order for cancer cells to migrate and invade other tissues, they must first escape the main tumor and move into the extracellular matrix (ECM) surrounding the tumor. They can then continue to grow into neighboring tissues, or they can enter the blood stream or the lymphatic system to spread to other parts of the body.

In multiple studies, cannabinoids were found to block angiogenesis by reducing expression of the ligand and its associated receptors in the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway. With the VEGF system down, tumors will be unable to grow new blood vessels to help feed its out-of-control growth. New tumors resulting from metastasis to peripheral tissues, like the lungs, also require angiogenesis to sustain their development and growth.

CBD has been found to inhibit the production of metalloproteinases (MMPs). These proteins play a role in angiogenesis by breaking down components of the ECM to allow new blood vessels to form. They also aid in the migration of cancer cells away from the main tumor. In order for a cancer cell to escape the tumor, it must use MMPs to break down the ECM that surrounds the tumor. This has been shown to be particularly critical for treating glioma tumors, which grow and spread so quickly that they are nearly impossible to remove surgically. CBD was able to reduce the aggressiveness of gliomas by inhibiting their invasion capability in part by inhibiting MMPs.

In addition to MMPs, cell invasiveness is also governed by cell-cell adhesion. Certain kinds of adhesive proteins, like focal adhesion kinases (FAKs), promote metastasis when they are increased in number. These proteins allow the cell to migrate away from the tumor more easily. Cannabinoids have been found to inhibit FAKs in cancer cells, reducing their ability to migrate.

In breast cancer, CBD turned off the Id-1 gene, a pro-metastatic gene that is an aggressiveness marker in breast cancer. As a result, breast cancer cells treated with CBD were less invasive. Inhibiting Id-1 has a chain-reaction effect, in which other genes that promote metastasis are also down-regulated, resulting in an overall reduction in cancer aggressiveness.

Tumor metastasis is the final stage of cancer advancement, and the one that is most often fatal to cancer patients. Laboratory studies have found that cannabinoids like THC and CBD are effective at shutting down the essential processes that allow cancer cells to metastasize. On their own, or in concert with traditional cancer therapies, cannabinoids could be a new frontier in cancer treatment.

AvatarAvatar
Christine Kielhorn
5 Comments
  • AvatarAvatar
    Stephen King

    Who did this study, and what are the names of the journal articles?

    January 23, 2019 at 7:21 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grant

      Hi Stephen – if you look back in the article, you will see text in a different color. These are links to the studies and/or more related information.

      January 26, 2019 at 11:11 pm Reply
  • AvatarAvatar
    josh

    Careful with your titles if you wouldn’t mind. That’s a bold statement and quite misleading. It MAY inhibit CERTAIN metastasis…lab results are a world away from being effective in the human body.
    Don’t think it’s responsible to make things sound absolute and definitive when at this stage of research.

    February 11, 2019 at 3:59 am Reply
    • Jennifer Grant

      Thanks Josh. Multiple lab studies demonstrate this ability of cannabinoids to block angiogenesis and inhibit focal adhesion kinases to stop out of control growth and migration (i.e. multiple types of cancer). Multiple rodent studies have demonstrated tumor shrinkage and cancer cell death due to the blocking of these mechanisms of angiogenesis. Human Glioma studies have shown cannabinoids can block the action of MMPs, which cancer needs to leave the site and metastasize. I feel confident that the title reflects the state of cannabis and cancer research as it sits today.

      February 11, 2019 at 10:34 am Reply
  • AvatarAvatar
    Chris turner

    I have stage four prostate cancer. I’m only 58. Treatment isn’t working. Where do I get cannibas oil

    February 11, 2019 at 6:16 am Reply

Post a Comment