Italian Study Suggests that CBD Could Inhibit the Growth of Breast Cancer Cells

There have been countless early stage studies that have focused on the therapeutic benefits of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) on tumors. In fact, the antitumor effects of the cannabis plant’s most recognisable cannabinoid has been observed in many different forms of cancer.

However, in 2006, the Department of Biology and cellular and molecular Pathology at the University of Naples decided to investigate the antitumor properties of CBD (Cannabidiol), another well-known cannabinoid that, unlike THC, has no psychotropic effects.

Firstly, the team in Naples discovered that CBD inhibited the growth of cancer cells, with a significantly low disturbance of other healthy cells.

Secondly, an athymic mouse (a mouse which does not reject human tumor cells) was injected with Breast Carcinoma cells. The team then injected the mouse with CBD. They observed that the cannabinoid inhibited the growth of tumors from the Breast Carcinoma cells. Additionally, CBD also reduced lung metastases deriving from the same injected cells.

The department in Naples summarised that while CBD lacks a “unique mode of action” (it does not specifically target the cancer cells), its capability to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) via its activation of CB-2 Receptors was the reason for its positive effects.

CB-2 Receptors are part of our endo-cannabinoid system, which crucially regulate certain cellular processes. Studies have observed that when a cannabinoid is ingested from the cannabis plant, receptors including CB-2, are activated, and capable of producing certain cellular reactions, like apoptosis.

The department in Naples concluded that further testing of CBD and cannabidiol-rich extracts for the potential treatment of cancer should be conducted.

Despite this suggestion, there have been very few studies that have investigated CBD specifically since. This is due to general scientific focus on THC only, after it has shown consistently strong antitumor results. However, it is essential that the full spectrum of cannabinoids be analysed in order to further strengthen the case for wide scale medical use and uninhibited in-vivo research.

You can download the original research study in full on our Research Library.

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