Two scientists from the California Pacific Medical Center, which is based in San Francisco, found that a compound derived from marijuana could help prevent metastasis in multiple aggressive forms of cancer.
“It took us about 20 years of research to figure this out, but we are very excited,” said Pierre Desprez in an interview with The Huffington Post. “We want to get started with trials as soon as possible.”
The results have undergone animal and laboratory testing and are waiting for the go ahead on clinical trials in humans. Desprez has studied the ID-1, which is the gene that allows cancer to spread through the body, for decades. Desprez began working with Sean McAllister, who was studying the effects Cannabidiol has. The two put Cannabidiol and ID-1 into a dish together.
“What we found was that his Cannabidiol could essentially ‘turn off’ the ID-1,” Desprez said. “We likely would not have found this on our own. That’s why collaboration is so essential to scientific discovery.”
“We started by researching breast cancer,” said Desprez. “But now we’ve found that Cannabidiol works with many kinds of aggressive cancers–brain, prostate–any kind in which these high levels of ID-1 are present.”
Desprez is hoping that clinical trials for the project can begin now.
“We’ve found no toxicity in the animals we’ve tested, and Cannabidiol is already used in humans for a variety of other ailments,” he said. “We used injections in the animal testing and are also testing pills. But you could never get enough Cannabidiol for it to be effective just from smoking.”
The duo has also begun synthesizing the compound in the lab so it will be more potent than simply using the plant itself when clinical trials begin.
“It’s a common practice,” Desprez said. “But hopefully it will also keep us clear of any obstacles while seeking approval.”