Scientists Halt Growth of Colorectal Cancer with Cannabinoid Compounds


Scientists have recently identified several cannabinoid compounds that can potentially help in treating colorectal cancer.  A team of researchers at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey has tested various varieties of cannabinoids on different types of colorectal cancer cells in human beings.

Out of a hundred observations, 10 synthetic cannabinoids had shown the ability to stop the overall cancer growth.  The famous cannabis compounds THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabinoid) had revealed negligible ability to halt the growth of cancer cells.

In the given study, the researchers observe the given study as a major point for ensuring further studies for better understanding the anti-cancer effects observed by them, and for evaluating the potential of the given compound for effective drug development.   The results of the study have been published in a journal named “Cannabis & Cannabinoid Research.”

Professor Kent E. Vrana –Senior Study Author and Chairperson of Department of Pharmacology, says, “Now that we have come across the cannabinoid compounds having the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells, we plan to take the respective compounds to alter them and make them more potent against cancer cells.”

As per the World Cancer Research Fund, colorectal cancer is known to be the 3rd most common form of cancer in the world.  For the latest study, scientists considered investigating synthetic cannabinoids.  Out of the library of around 360 molecules, the scientists were successful in identifying around 10 compounds that are known to inhibit cell viability in 7 different types of colorectal cancer that have been derived from the human tumors.  Professor Vrana explains that cancer could arise in the cells in various different ways.  For screening the library of candidates, Vrana along with his team cultured the respective cancer cells for around 8 hours.  Then, the team treated the same with one of the given compounds for another 48 hours.

When the compounds started showing signs of inhibiting the viability of the cancer cells of a specific type of colorectal cancer cell, the researchers then continued testing the same for another 6 types of colorectal cancer cells.  After further studies and analyses, the scientists were successful in selecting around 10 such compounds.  The 10 compounds are known to belong to 3 distinct classes of cannabinoids.