A December 2013 video that has been picking up attention in medical marijuana advocacy circles points out the benefits of the drug's active ingredient in cancer treatments.
"We observed that the cannabinoids were very effective in reducing tumor growth," molecular biologist Christina Sanchez said in the video, first uploaded by Cannabis Planet. "Cells can die in different ways, and after cannabinoid treatment, they were dying in the 'clean' way. They were committing suicide, which is something you really want."
Cannabinoids are a group of natural and man-made chemicals, which include the active ingredients in cannabis, that act upon some receptors within the body. Marijuana.com reported that Sanchez's work at Compultense University in Madrid, Spain parallels British oncologist Wai Liu's discovery that THC can "target and switch off" pathways that would otherwise allow tumors to develop.
"Cannabinoids have a complex action; it hits a number of important processes that cancers need to survive," Liu told The Huffington Post in October 2013. "For that reason, it has really good potential over other drugs that only have one function. I am impressed by its activity profile, and feel it has a great future, especially if used with standard chemotherapies."
Sanchez also said in the video that, unlike chemotherapy, cannabinoids do not target non-cancerous cells, making them less risky for patients. The National Cancer Institute has also pointed out that one particular cannabinoid, cannabidiol, "may make chemotherapy more effective and increase cancer cell death without harming normal cells."
"I cannot understand why, in the [United] States, cannabis is under Schedule I," Sanchez said. "It is pretty obvious not only from our work, but from work from many other researchers, that the plant has very wide therapeutic potential."
Watch Sanchez discuss the benefits of treating cancer with THC, as posted by Cannabis Nation, below.