Medical Marijuana and Cancer
A recent report by doctors in Germany published by Oxford University Press titled, “Inhibition of Cancer Cell Invasion by Cannabinoids via Increased Expression of Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinases” by Robert Ramer, Burkhard Hinz gives some hope that the cannabinoids may inhibit cancer metastasis. In vitro (i.e. in the lab) cancer cells that were treated with combinations of cannabinoids, antagonists of cannabinoid receptors, and small interfering ribonucleic acid or ‘siRNA’ to tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) were assessed for invasiveness, protein expression, and activation of signal transduction pathways. The contribution of this discovery, is that the expression of TIMP-1 was shown to be stimulated by cannabinoid receptor activation and to mediate the anti-invasive effect of cannabinoids. In plain language, they learned that treatment with cannabinoids, some of the active ingredients of medicinal marijuana, has been shown to reduce the invasiveness of cancer cells, again – in the lab. Now the relevance of the findings to the behavior of tumor cells in vivo (in the living body) remains to be determined. The researchers concluded that increased expression of TIMP-1 mediates an anti-invasive effect of cannabinoids. That means that in the future, cannabinoids may offer a therapeutic option in the treatment of highly invasive cancers.
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