The present and recent research into the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids is (in the main) funded by large pharmaceutical companies who are seeking returns on their research investment via patents. I am currently collaborating with several leading experts and organisations on developing and carrying out independent research into the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids; one such collaboration is with Professor Manuel Guzman and his department at the Complutense University of Madrid.
Professor Manuel Guzman first came to my attention with the publication of his paper: “Cannabinoids: Potential Anticancer Agents ” (2003). My interest was roused by the second line of his opening statement:
“Cannabinoids — the active components of Cannabis Sativa and their derivatives — exert palliative effects in cancer patients by preventing nausea, vomiting and pain and by stimulating appetite. In addition, these compounds have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumour cells in culture and animal models by modulating key cell-signalling pathways. Cannabinoids are usually well tolerated, and do not produce the generalized toxic effects of conventional chemotherapies. So, could cannabinoids be used to develop new anticancer therapies?”
Since 2003, Manuel and his department have conducted considerable research into the field of cannabinoids and cancer, in my opinion they are the world leaders in this field.
There are around 200 forms of cancer and what is becoming apparent from the research in Madrid is that some cancers react differently to combinations of cannabinoids.
Dr Guillermo Velasco specialises in cannabinoids and their effects on gliomas and pancreatic cancer. I like Guillermo very much and mainly for his answer to my question, why did you choose these two particularly aggressive forms of cancer? He responded that he selected these two particular cancers mainly because they are both very, very aggressive with a high mortality rate and unlike other forms of cancer there are no effective treatments for sufferers.
I am seeking to raise €35,000 to fund an independent experiment I am designing with Professors Guillermo Velasco, Cristina Sanchez and Manuel Guzman at the Complutense University of Madrid.
The research I hope to fund in Madrid will investigate the anti-cancer properties of cannabis and individual cannabinoids, seeking to establish the most effective cannabinoid or combination of cannabinoids. We will also investigate whether whole plant extracts or individual cannabinoids are more effective at treating breast cancer and glioma cell types than individual cannabinoids.
A pressing question for me is; which is more effective as an anti-cancer agent? whole plant extracts or individual pharmaceutical grade cannabinoids (both synthetic and plant derived)? This study will hopefully answer this question.
I cannot stress enough how important this particular research is; Guillermo recently oversaw an experiment into treating glioblastomas with cannabinoids which indicated that combining THC and CBD in equal amounts was more effective than either THC or CBD alone.
Outline of proposed experiments to be included in the project:
· Objective 1. To compare the in vitro anticancer activity of whole plant extracts vs pharmaceutical cannabinoids in glioma and breast cancer cells.
· Objective 2. To compare the anticancer activity in vivo of whole plant extracts vs pharmaceutical cannabinoids in tumour xenografts generated with glioma and breast cancer cells.
· Objective 3. To investigate the mechanism of action of THC, CBD, and THC plus CBD in glioma and breast cancer cells.
We will also analyse the participation of CB1 and CB2 receptors as well as proteins in the effect of THC, CBD, and THC plus CBD in two cell types.
Possible Future studies
We expect that the results obtained from the experiments in Objective 3 will help to set the bases for the development of further studies, including those aimed at identifying the molecular mechanisms that become activated in glioma and breast cancer cells in response to treatment with different cannabinoids.
All the useful results from this study will be placed in the public domain, so please help me to make this happen.
Co-Author of The Medical Cannabis Guidebook