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Marijuana Takes On Colon Cancer

Julie Gardener

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Marijuana Takes On Colon Cancer​
August 2008 by Aria Pearson

The chemicals in marijuana could put the brakes on colon cancer, according to new research. That doesn't mean smoking a joint will help, though, as the chemicals only form part of the process.

"When we knocked out the receptor, the number of tumors went up dramatically," says DuBois. Alternatively, when mice with normal CB1 receptors were treated with a cannabinoid compound, their tumours shrank.

Dual attack

The findings suggest a two-step treatment plan for colon cancer, as well as for other cancers that might be linked to this receptor.

First, turn the CB1 receptor back on, and then activate it with drugs currently in development that mimic marijuana. But how to turn it on?

The researchers found that in human colon cancer cells, the gene that makes the receptor is blocked by a process called methylation, in which a small chemical group is added to the DNA.

Treating the cells with decitibine - a demethylating drug already approved for use in humans - removed the chemical group and the gene began making the receptor. Drugs that mimic marijuana might then activate the receptor, although DuBois did not test this.

Source: Marijuana takes on colon cancer - health - 01 August 2008 - New Scientist
 
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