Glioblastoma is a nasty disease. Basically, it’s a brain tumor — and a death sentence. It’s real booger to treat. There’s that whole blood-brain barrier thing that inhibits the efficacy of standard pharmaceuticals. The tumor cells are very resistant to treatment. The human brain is lousy at fixing itself. This thing is a real headache (sorry).
Enter the cannabinoids. Several in vitro experiments have been performed with surprising results.
A synthetic cannabinoid, win 55 212-2, has been used with some promise. THC has been experimented with as well as cannabidiol. The surprising part is that THC was a better choice because it was more selective than the synthetic and produced less disruption of the normal cell morphology.
And further, more interesting even, is the experiments using both THC and CBD at a ratio of 4:1 (respectively). The treatment of Glioblastoma cells with both compounds led to significant modulations of the cell cycle and induction of reactive oxygen species and apoptosis as well as specific modulations of extracellular signal-related kinase and caspase activities. That didn’t happen quite like that when only one or the other compound was used.
What that means is, THC does this; CBD does that. When you put the two together they work in some sort of (as yet unknown) synergistic way that produces a different result. Together, they trigger a response that they won’t individually.
I love this stuff, man. I think it’s neat on several levels. Number one, whole plant cannabis compounds are showing great promise in a number of different cancers. There’s a particularly nasty breast cancer that tends to metastasize in the lungs. The preliminary work with cannabidiol indicates it kicks the crap out of it. Curing cancers, I don’t care how, is a good thing.
The second thing is the science, for science sake (so to speak). To date, all indications are that whole plant compounds are much more effective than synthetics. We are beginning to learn the why of it but not the how. A synthetic is one compound. As the Glioblastoma work indicates the best results are obtained when at least two phytocannabinoids are used. Some how, some way, these things develop a different modality when they are combined. And we are just talking about THC and CBD. There’s another 60 or so cannabinoids within the whole plant that we know very little about.
I’ve said it before, I believe the future of medicinal cannabis is the pharmaceutical industry. I think too, though, that they need to pull their heads out of their cubicles and take a different tact than their standard paradigm. Obviously, whole plant derivatives are proving to be more effective than the synthetics. Yeah, I know — it’s not worth a plug nickel to the drug outfits if they can’t patent their goods. Processes can be patented though, right? And even with synthetics, what if several compounds were combined in one dose? Somewhere someone’s got to be experimenting with that. It’s too obvious for it not to be pursued.
Imagine this post closes with a commercial. C’mon, drag out your imagination here for a moment. There’s a shot of a MRI showing a gnarly brain tumor:
“This is your brain.”
The image changes to a clear MRI:
“This is your brain on pot.”
“Cannabinoids are not for everybody. Side effects can include an increased appetite, a reduction in neuropathic pain, and a restful night’s sleep.”