Can chemicals found in marijuana help fight colon cancer? Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine researchers say some cannabinoid compounds may actually inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells in the lab.
They tested the effects of synthetic cannabinoid compounds on colon cancer cells in an experiment in test tubes. They found that while the compounds most commonly associated with cannabis – THC and CBD – showed little to no effect, 10 other compounds were effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth.
Kent Vrana, chair of the Department of Pharmacology at Penn State College of Medicine, said the study – recently published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research – helped identify compounds that could be tested further to understand their anti-cancer properties.
“Now that we’ve identified the compounds that we think have this activity, we can take these compounds and start trying to alter them to make them more potent against cancer cells,” Vrana said. “And then eventually, we can explore the potential for using these compounds to develop drugs for treating cancer.”