Researchers from St. George’s University of London recently confirmed that chemotherapy is most effective when used in conjunction with cannabinoids for the treatment of leukemia.
Dr. Wai Liu, a Research Fellow at St. George’s Division of Clinical Sciences, published the study in the International Journal of Oncology:
“Phytocannabinoids possess anticancer activity when used alone, and a number have also been shown to combine favourably with each other in vitro in leukaemia cells to generate improved activity. We have investigated the effect of pairing cannabinoids and assessed their anticancer activity in cell line models. Those most effective were then used with the common anti-leukaemia drugs cytarabine and vincristine, and the effects of this combination therapy on cell death studied in vitro. Results show a number of cannabinoids could be paired together to generate an effect superior to that achieved if the components were used individually.”
Phytocannabinoids, more commonly referred to as Cannabinoids, are the active chemicals in marijuana/cannabis. Once extracted and purified from the plant, these natural compounds have demonstrated their anticancer assets, particularly for those suffering from specific forms of brain cancer.
Liu and his team discovered that by properly timing the combination of chemotherapy treatments with cannabinoids, patients had better results than when treated with just chemotherapy. In other words, thanks to cannabinoids, beneficial effects can be achieved with reduced doses of the chemotherapy.
Per the study’s results, the reduced dosage of chemotherapy could potentially translate to fewer side effects. “Our results suggest that when certain cannabinoids are paired together, the resulting product can be combined synergistically with common anti-leukaemia drugs allowing the dose of the cytotoxic agents to be dramatically reduced yet still remain efficacious.”
Cover photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.