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Benefits Of Cannabis: CBD Shrinks Size Of Brain Tumor Glioblastoma In Experimental Model

Benefits Of Cannabis: CBD Shrinks Size Of Brain Tumor Glioblastoma In Experimental Model

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most abundant compounds in cannabis. It is being touted as a treatment for numerous condition. Researchers find positive results in brain tumour treatment as well.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : January 1, 2022 3:36 PM IST

The potential medicinal properties of cannabis (also known as marijuana) and its components have been the subject of debate for decades. Cannabis contains more than 120 active components, which are known as cannabinoids. The two most abundant compounds found in cannabis are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and most studies have focused on these components. Especially, CBD is being touted as a treatment for numerous conditions including epilepsy, depression, migraines, pain and inflammatory bowel disease. Several studies have also shown that CBD is safe and does not produce the 'high' associated with THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis.

Now, researchers at Augusta University have found that inhaled CBD can reduce the size of the highly aggressive, lethal brain tumour glioblastoma in an animal model. The study findings were published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

CBD appears to alter the tumour's ecosystem

For the study, the researchers used CBD in an animal model of glioblastoma. They saw a significant reduction in the size of the tumour after only seven days of treatment. They also found difference in its microenvironment after the CBD treatment. Daily doses of inhaled CBD or a placebo was given to mice with glioblastoma for seven days continuously.

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According to them, CBD appears to alter the tumour's ecosystem, or supportive microenvironment, including restoring levels of inflammation that target rather than protect the glioblastoma. This means CBD was able to reduce the tumour's size by reducing the essential support of its microenvironment.

The findings indicated that inhaled CBD could make it a safe, effective and novel adjunct therapy for people with this aggressive brain tumour.

Talking about the advantages of the inhaler approach, they said it helped ensure the compound reached the brain, plus this method of delivery would be easier to use, much like asthma inhalers. Though the approach is likely easily applicable to humans, the researchers said currently they are looking primarily at the biological response of the tumour to CBD.

Treatment of glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is probably one of the most aggressive cancers and the treatments we have right now is not working very well, said Dr. Martin Rutkowski, a neurosurgeon the Medical College of Georgia and study co-author.

"We are in desperate need of research and more treatments," he added, as quoted by Science Daily.

Current treatment of brain tumour includes surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. While surgery does not offer a cure, it helps in maximizing quality of life and prognosis, Rutkowski said, adding that the length of survival is depended on the amount of tumour that can be removed surgically.

The research team from Augusta University are excited about the cannabinoid's impact in glioblastoma. "Right now we are excited that the tumour shrinks," said Dr. Babak Baban, immunologist and associate dean for research at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University.

In the study, treatment with only inhaled CBD showed positive results. The researchers are hopeful that CBD will be a novel adjunct to other therapies other therapies, like surgery, in the future.

Rutkowski noted that the latest significant advance in glioblastoma treatment came more than 15 years ago, when chemotherapy drug temozolamide was added to radiation. The combination extended survival about one- and one-half months and was celebrated by patients and caregivers alike, he added.