Researchers from St. George's, University of London have found that combining chemotherapy with cannabinoids can effectively treat leukemia. Though the tests were done in vitro, it showed that it could potentially lower the needed dose for chemo.
Specifically, the research involved using phytocannabinoids — the naturally-occurring cannabinoids in the cannabis plant — in tandem with chemotherapy. "Phytocannabinoids possess anticancer activity when used alone, and a number have also been shown to combine favorably with each other in vitro in leukaemia cells to generate improved activity," according to a study published in the International Journal of Oncology.
Though the tests were done in the laboratory, the researchers are confident that combining phytocannabinoids with chemotherapy for leukemia patients could mean lower doses for the latter — effectively lessening its side-effects.
IN CONCENTRATED DOSES
As with most studies involving cannabis, it's worth mentioning that it's not possible to achieve the effects claimed by the study by recreational use of the drug. "These extracts are highly concentrated and purified, so smoking marijuana will not have a similar effect," lead researcher Wai Liu said in a press release. "But cannabinoids are a very exciting prospect in oncology, and studies such as ours serve to establish the best ways that they should be used to maximize a therapeutic effect."