Researchers at the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology of Rostock University in Germany rang in the New Year with excellent news for the world. In a study, Prof. Burkhard Hinz and his scientists put the active ingredients in cannabis up to the claims of holding an ability to truly kill cancer cells, even going further into the chemistry to find out exactly how this medical miracle takes place.
Hinz’s repertoire with cannabis goes back a ways. In 2008 his research team was the first to discover that active ingredients actually slowed the migration of tumor cells into the surrounding tissues, this migration is what commonly leads metastasis, which is when cancer moves out from one affected area and into the rest of the body.
The research has been published in the January 2015 edition of the journal Biochemical Pharmacology with the title “New Insights into Antimetastic and Antiangiogenic Effects of Cannabinoids.” What they found was that both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC or known as Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) and cannabidiol, also an active substance and originating from cannabis, contribute to the destruction of tumor cells by stimulating the formation of a specific protein, ICAM-1. By acting on the surface of the cells attacked by cancer, the proteins link themselves to the immune system’s own defensive cells, making the cancerous cells burst. The active ingredients, thus, prevent cancerous cells from forming blood vessels which allow the cancer to take root and grow.
This is, of course, very encouraging news, but the professor gave no timeline with respect to when his studies will progress onward with the process of producing an actual medicine. Hinz emphasized that the study is still at an early stage, and said, “We are far from putting our discoveries into practice on a clinical level. However, our results are further evidence that cannabinoids mediate a series of potentially therapeutic uses.”