By Steve Elliott
The pain-relieving and nausea-relieving effects of medical marijuana and its chief psychoactive ingredient, THC, are becoming well known for those fighting cancer and other serious diseases. But for more than five years now, a group of researchers in California has been focusing on another of the cannabinoids found in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD).
"Cannabidiol is a non-toxic agent from cannabis that is not psychoactive," said Sean McAllister, Ph.D., a lead researcher in the recent study at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, reports Carolyn Johnson at KGO.
McAllister and fellow researcher Pierre Desprez, Ph.D., say they are now ready for human trials, using CBD to treat metastatic cancer. They've already produced a synthetic form of CBD, which they say targets a specific gene related to cancer's spread.
"We found this one compound, CBD, had a specific effect on metastatic cancer cells, very aggressive tumor cells," Desprez said. "The bad cancer cells, the ones that spread throughout the body."
The team documented the effect of CBD on brain cancer in a large scale animal trial in a recently published study. Brain scans showed the disruption of the tumor cells after the CBD was used to switch off a specific gene regulator, according to the researchers.