Scientists have published a study showing a reduction in the size of lung cancer tumours in mice after the administration of cannabis in the form of a CBD inhaler. Researchers involved in the study report that the tumours reduced in size due to the CBD preventing growth by targeting the mechanics that help them grow.
Lung cancer is the world’s deadliest cancer, accounting for roughly one in five deaths from cancer. It is also one of the most common cancers, second only to prostate cancer in men, and breast cancer in women.
There are two main types of lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is when cells in the lungs mutate to become smaller than they should be. Smoking tobacco is a major cause of SCLC, second-hand smoke exposure and exposure to chemicals such as radon and asbestos can also be the cause.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a name used to represent all other types of lung cancer that aren’t SCLC. Smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products is the leading cause of NSCLC. A cough that doesn’t go away and shortness of breath can be indicators of NSCLC.
Older people aged 65 and over are most affected by lung cancer, the average age of diagnosis is 70. However, a small number of people under 45 are diagnosed with lung cancer. People in the age group 85 – 89 are most affected by lung cancer.
Survival rates from lung cancer vary and depend on when it is caught and the type of cancer. In the UK the ten-year survival rate, taking into account all variables, is only 10%.
It is important to note figures representing survival rates do not take all factors into account, and are now higher due to advances in technology and a deeper understanding of the human body.
Incidences of lung cancer in the UK in males have been falling since the 1990s by about 32%, however, for females it has increased by about 34%, resulting in an overall decrease of about 9%.
Over the past decade, lung cancer incidence rates have remained stable, and are projected to fall by a further 7% over the next 12 years to 88 cases per 100,000. This can be largely attributed to lower rates of tobacco smoking, advances in early detection, and a higher public awareness of the early signs of lung cancer.
The team of researchers on the CBD study, headed by Évila Lopes Salles, used mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells. The mice were then treated with either a CBD inhaler or a placebo. The growth rate of tumours in the lungs was measured in both groups.
The results showed that mice in the CBD group had a reduction in the size of their tumours when compared to the placebo group. Researchers assigned this reduction to the anti-angiogenic properties of CBD, which prevents the tumours from growing by slowing the development of new blood vessels in the tumours.
It is thought to be the first time these results have been produced specifically in regard to lung cancer tumours. “These results suggest, for the first time, that inhalant CBD can impede lung cancer growth by suppressing CD44 and angiogenesis.” researchers said. The results support real-world accounts of cannabis, specifically CBD, helping to shrink lung cancer tumours, including the case of a woman in her 80s who had been smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day for 68 years.