Jerusalem, Israel: According to preclinical data published in the journal Cancers, plant-derived extracts containing both CBD and CBC (cannabichromene) are highly effective at killing head and neck cancer cells in culture.
Israeli researchers assessed the anti-cancer activity of 24 plant-derived cannabinoids in head and neck cell cultures.
They reported that the administration of CBD and CBC at a ratio of two-to-one “maximizes the cytotoxicity of HNSCC [head and neck squamous cell carcinoma] cells.” Authors also identified a similar “entourage effect” when CBD was combined with THC at a two-to-one ratio, but they suggested that the former combination possessed a more beneficial safety profile.
“Our research found CBC to enhance the cytotoxic effect of CBD, establishing additional support for the phenomenon of the entourage effect in phytocannabinoids,” investigators determined. “Considering the adverse psychotomimetic effects of THC, there is a clear advantage for favoring the CBD-CBC combination over CBD-THC for novel treatments for HNSCC.”
They concluded, “This research suggests using whole cannabis extracts, which are decarboxylated CBD-rich, to induce cancer cell death.”
Although cannabinoids possess well-established anti-cancer activity in preclinical models, scientists have largely been reluctant to try and replicate these results in controlled clinical trials.
According to a 2015 literature review, cannabis smoke exposure is not positively associated with the development of cancers of the head or neck. A 2009 study reported that the moderate long-term use of marijuana was associated with a reduced risk of head and neck cancers.
Full text of the study, “The effect of cannabis plant extracts on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and the quest for cannabis-based personalized therapy,” appears in Cancers. Additional information on cannabinoids and cancer is available from NORML’s publication, Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids.