Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the chemicals found in the cannabis plant. This chemical has been the focus of the vast majority of research into the potential medicinal benefits of medical cannabis over the years.
While CBD has been used as an effective experimental treatment for the nausea caused by chemotherapy for a number of years, recent discoveries suggest that CBD could kill cancer cells.
Invasion and metastasis of aggressive breast cancer cells are the final and fatal steps during cancer progression. Clinically, there are still limited therapeutic interventions for aggressive and metastatic breast cancers available. However, it looks like CBD could have potential here.
Id-1, an inhibitor of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, has recently been shown to be a key regulator of the metastatic potential of breast and additional cancers. Researchers have found that CBD, a cannabinoid with a low toxicity profile, down-regulated Id-1 gene expression in aggressive human breast cancer cells in culture.
Using cell proliferation and invasion assays, cell flow cytometry to examine cell cycle and the formation of reactive oxygen species, and Western analysis, scientists have determined pathways leading to the down-regulation of Id-1 expression by CBD and consequently to the inhibition of the proliferative and invasive phenotype of human breast cancer cells.
This data demonstrates the efficacy of CBD in pre-clinical models of breast cancer. The results have the potential to lead to the development of novel non-toxic compounds for the treatment of breast cancer metastasis. The information gained from these experiments broadens our knowledge of both Id-1 and cannabinoid biology as it pertains to cancer progression.
These results are certainly promising, although far from conclusive. Frustratingly, there remains much we don’t understand about CBD and the effects it can have on various cancer cells. This is why more research is required, but we can still take solace in the encouraging results of studies such as this.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.