Fighting Breast Cancer With Cannabis

Spanish researchers are showing that cannabis can be used as an effective treatment tool for the most aggressive strain of breast cancer.

One of the most aggressive forms of breast cancers (ErbB2 – positive) is responsible for roughly one third of all diagnosis. This form of breast cancer is called ErbB2-positive because the ErbB2 is a receptor in the breast cells that over expresses beyond normal limits. While there are pharmaceutical therapies that have been designed for the treatment of this particularly destructive strain of breast cancer, studies and experience have shown that only a small percentage of patients using those traditional treatments are responding.

Searching for a cure to better treat the ErbB2-positive strain of breast cancer, a research study was undertaken by several Universities in Spain collaborating to see if cannabis might make a suitable and effective treatment for this characteristically non-responsive and fast spreading form of breast cancer.

Using a strain of cannabis high in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and high in CB2, a strain of CBD cannabinoid, they started treating rats to see if they responded to the treatment of cannabis. The results were conclusive and exciting for cancer research.

Their clinical evidence shows that the mice not only responded to the treatment with a marked reduction in tumors growing, but they even eliminated tumors all together in some cases. The aggressive ErbB2-positive tumors were shown to stop growing, actually reduce in size and the overall number of tumors went down in many cases. The team of Spanish scientists observed that cannabinoids in their studies did in fact stop the spread of cancer cells in addition to improving and reducing cancerous tumor sizes altogether. It’s believed that cannabis does this by slowing and in many cases stopping the over expression of ErbB2 in the cell, which is the pathway for the growth and spread of the cancerous tumor cells.

Indeed this team of researchers concluded that non-psychoactive (that is hybrid THC strains of cannabis that are counterbalanced with CBD strains to offset the “mental” effect of cannabis) may be a very efficient treatment option for breast cancer patients, both in low response tumors and in the highly aggressive ErbB2-positive forms of cancer without having adverse affects on any surrounding healthy cell tissue. This study of cannabis is a big advance and contribution for breast cancer research.

Sources:
Sanchez, Cristina, Et Al. “Cannabinoids Reduce ErbB2-driven Breast Cancer
Progression.” Molecular Cancer Vol 9. N.p., 22 July 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.