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Colon Cancer Cell Growth May Be Inhibited By Cannabinoids, Cell Studies Suggest


Rachael Funnell


Rachael Funnell

Digital Content Producer

Rachael is a writer and digital content producer at IFLScience with a Zoology degree from the University of Southampton, UK, and a nose for novelty animal stories.

Digital Content Producer

cannabinoid colon cancer

The findings are limited, but demonstrate there may be a role for cannabinoids in the management of certain cancers. Image credit: Viennetta /

Beneficial effects of cannabinoids in the management of colon cancer may have been revealed by new research, reports Forbes, as two studies appear to have found that these compounds can inhibit cell growth for the disease.

While the research was limited to cell model and cell culture methodologies, together the studies’ findings may indicate that cannabinoids could be a promising avenue for further research into treatments for what is currently the third most common cancer diagnosis in the United States, says the American Cancer Society.


A combination of cannabis and mushroom extracts were used in the development of an oncological product from Cannabotech, a biomedical company. In their research, yet to be peer-reviewed but is described in a press release from Cision, they found that their “integrative-colon” products were able to eliminate over 90 percent of colon cancer cells.

Psilocybin and THC were both excluded from the research, the latter due to regulation complications in getting products containing psychoactive compounds to market. However, the growth stunting for colon cancer cells was seen with CBD and other cannabinoid derivatives.

The research, for now, is limited to a cell model and was conducted by researchers associated with the pharmaceutical company, but they hope next to see if their results are replicable in animal studies.

“Colon cancer is one of the most common tumors today, with a significant proportion of patients currently treated with integrative therapies, in combination with traditional methods, including the administration of medical cannabis,” said Senior Oncologist behind the research, Professor Tami Peretz. “Based on these experiments, there is room to perform animal studies and, in the future, to examine the possibility of incorporating these products in colorectal cancer patients.”


Further research published in the journal International Immunopharmacology used human colorectal cell lines including healthy and disease cell lines to study the influence of cannabinoids. It found that CBD and some of its derivatives reduced cancer cells’ ability to function, increased cancer cell death through a process known as apoptosis, and interrupted the cell cycle for human colorectal cancer cells.

The findings were, however, receptor-specific, meaning the data only supports CBD as potential “a safe and potent therapeutic agent for patients with CB2-bearing colorectal cancer,” wrote the authors.

“However, due to the limitations of in vitro studies, it remains necessary to perform a deep mechanistic study regarding CB2-dependent pathways in colon cancer animal models to improve our understanding of CBD’s mechanism of action and its effects.”

[H/T: Forbes]


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