Here’s what you need to know about first human trials using marijuana to treat brain cancer

In Cancer, Top Stories by David Silverberg

GW Pharmaceuticals announced recently it has commenced a Phase 1b/2a clinical human trial for the treatment of Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), causing brain cancer, using marijuana as medicine.

As GW explains it in a release:

This study follows several years of pre-clinical research conducted by GW in the field of glioma which has demonstrated that cannabinoids inhibit the viability of glioma cells both in vitro and in vivoi,ii via apoptosis or programmed cell death, may also affect angiogenesis, and have demonstrated tumor growth-inhibiting action and an improvement in the therapeutic efficacy of temozolomide1, a standard treatment for glioma.

The study won’t be entirely involve cannabis, but will also include temozolomide, an oral chemotherapy drug.

“We are very excited about moving this compound into further human study and the prospects of cannabinoids as new anti-cancer treatments. This is GW’s first clinical study of cannabinoids as a potential treatment to inhibit tumor growth,” stated Dr. Stephen Wright, Director of Research and Development at GW. “We believe this clinical program demonstrates the flexibility and broad application of GW’s cannabinoid platform to treat significant, unmet therapeutic needs.”

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, GBM accounts for approximately 50 percent of the 22,500 new cases of brain cancer diagnosed in the United States alone each year.

Image courtesy GW Pharmaceuticals