Cannabis inhibits cancer cells in early tests
Extracts of local cannabis strains have been found in a lab that can suppress cancer cells, the Department of Medical Sciences said.
Dr Supakit Sirilak, the department's director-general, said it has extracted tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) compounds from four local cannabis strains to test them against the cells of seven kinds of cancer: breast, kidney, liver, lung, intestinal, brain and pancreatic.
While THC is responsible for the euphoric high associated with marijuana, it can also ease pain and nausea, reduce inflammation and act as an antioxidant. CBD, on the other hand, can counteract the high caused by THC but also reduce anxiety, spasticity, pain and insomnia.
The team extracted oil from the flowers and seeds of four local breeds -- Hang Suea Sakon Nakhon TT 1, Tanaosi Kan Khao WUA 1 (both strains are high in THC), Hang Krarok Phu Phan ST 1, which has equal levels of THC and CBD, and Tanaosi Kan Daeng RD 1, which has a high level of CBD.
The first test used one dose of oil high in THC and six doses of CBD oil. It proved effective in suppressing the cells associated with breast, kidney and liver cancer.
The second test combined 10 doses of high-THC oil with one dose of CBD oil. This was found to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells linked to lung, intestinal, brain and pancreatic cancer.
A third test mixed two doses of oil with a high concentration of THC with one dose of CBD oil. The results indicated this could be used to suppress cancerous cells in general.
Dr Supakit said the research showed the cannabis oil did not cause bacterial mutagenicity but could be toxic to kidney, liver and lung cells. The discovery was published in the department's journal, showing its medicinal effects and toxicity.
The department will continue its research with animals and clinical trials.