Those familiar with the cannabis space will likely be familiar with 'Rick Simpson Oil', or what used to be known as 'hash oil'. This oil is a concentrate of oil from the cannabis plant that contains THC, CBD, and a host of 100+ other cannabinoids and cannabinoid like substances that are extracted from the raw plant material. Cannabinoids all have unique chemical structures and medicinal properties that range from anti-emetic to anti-epileptic.
This oil is some times referred to as 'snake oil' as the idea that cannabis oil can cure cancer is far fetched to most of us. However, there is a growing body of pre-clinical and now clinical evidence to support the theory that cannabinoids can aid in the suppression of tumors via multiple pathways.
There is supporting evidence that suggests flooding the body with cannabinoids like THC and CBD will help treat cancerous tumors. This study here suggests that high concentrations of cannabinoids constitute the preferred regimen for neurosurgeons to use when treating malignant astrocytomas with this class of compounds.
The study referred to in the above paragraph suggests that the high dose cannabinoids flood the body, bypassing the CB1 and CB2 receptors through overflow and provide additional therapeutic benefits for fighting cancer via 'yet unkown' receptors. They proffer the idea that other G coupled protein receptors (GPR55) are involved and that is likely the case. However, additional receptors (PPAR) seem to also be involved and they are the nuclear receptors.
PPAR receptors are nuclear hormone receptors and have gained a lot of attention due to their role in various malignancies, including lung cancer.
PPARα activation generally inhibits tumorigenesis through its antiangiogenic and anti-inflammatory effects
Activated PPARγ is also antitumorigenic and antimetastatic, regulating several functions of cancer cells and controlling the tumor microenvironment
CBD also promotes PPARa activity by inhibiting FAAH. FAAH is a metabolic enzyme that breaks down several cannabinoid compounds including THC.
So, we know that THC activates PPAR receptors through this and other studies.
However, the latest evidence for cannabinoids and their role in treating cancer comes from a study just completed on humans. This was a two-part study in patients with recurrent GBM (brain cancer) following standard chemo-radiotherapy treatment. There were no Grade 3 or 4 toxicities in Part 1 of the study.
In conclusion, the above referenced randomized study provides preliminary evidence that 1:1 CBD:THC offers some efficacy in patients with recurrent GBM when used as an adjunct to dose-intense temozolomide and confirms the safety and feasibility of individualized dosing.
Look for further clinical evidence of the efficacy of cannabinoid therapy in cancer in the coming months from the biotech world.