A study on the inhalation of CBD has shown it may provide anti-cancer activity in animals with glioblastoma.
The researchers studied the effects of CBD on the highly aggressive form of brain cancer.
Glioblastoma can form in the brain or spinal cord. It can occur at any age but is more common in adults. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, painful headaches and seizures.
The life expectancy of a patient with glioblastoma is estimated to be around 12 to 18 months with only 25 per cent of patients surviving the first year. Current treatment includes radiotherapy and chemotherapy or surgery.
The researchers, who are affiliated with Augusta University in Georgia and the Georgia Cancer Centre studied the difference that inhaled CBD could make on tumour growth. This is the first study examining inhalation as an effective way of administering CBD.
They reported that CBD administration limited tumour growth in mice and also altered other factors which facilitate progression. The researchers noted a significant reduction in tumour size after just seven days. They created a glioblastoma model in mice using human cells. The mice were then treated using a daily dose of CBD or a placebo after their tumours developed.
The CBD altered the tumour’s ecosystem while restoring the levels of inflammation that target the glioblastoma. The microenvironment includes immune cells, blood vessels that help tumours to grow before spreading.
Dr Babak Baban, an immunologist at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University said: “We saw a significant reduction in the size of the tumour and its microenvironment was different.
“It is about immune balance. Inflammation is heightened in response to a frontline attack on a tumour, which is a normal response; in fact, our immune system is regularly attacking cancerous or precancerous cells. But when a tumour manages to become established, the tumour takes charge, switching to producing a state of more chronic inflammation that ultimately protects it from the immune system.”
The study also showed that CBD helps the immune system to recognise cancer. It also produced CD8 which is a sugar-coated protein that aids an immune response. Both are increased by the suppression of the immune response by CBD leading to a potentially better prognosis.
The ability of CBD to reduce inflammation may also make it a potential therapy for those with damaged lungs from COVID.
Dr Baban said: “It is a puzzle and that is why we need good immune regulators. CBD is a very smart regulator,” that can make adjustments based on its environment, like turning apelin down in glioblastoma and up in the face of lungs damaged by COVID, he says. DCG and MCG investigators reported last year that CBD actually increases levels of apelin, which they have shown go way down with a SARS-CoV-2 infection, and in that scenario, the apelin increase reduces inflammation and the “cytokine storm” that has wreaked destruction in the lungs of patients.”
“Right now we are excited that the tumour shrinks,” he concluded.
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