CBD used to target cancer cells, amplifies efficacy of anti-cancer drugs


ENFLEUR is excited to share the research findings of Alexander M. Binshtok, Ph.D., out of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a leader in cannabinoid research, about the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of cancer. Since anti-cancer drugs are cytotoxic, that is they are toxic to all cells, not specifically cancer cells, Binshtok notes that one of the problematic aspects of cancer treatment is targeting only the tumor cells with anti-cancer drugs and avoiding healthy cells. Tumor cells either selectively express or overexpress various members of the transient receptor pathway (TRP) channel family, which in turn plays a critical role in the formation of tumors, the blood supply within tumors, and the proliferation and migration of tumor cells. Binshtok’s project used cannabidiol to activate TRP channels that were expressed by hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer typically resulting from hepatitis B or C, to use them as a “natural” drug delivery system that is cell-specific, targeting only cancer cells. The result of this is manifold, because treatment then requires a smaller therapeutic dose of the anti-cancer drug, reducing side-effects while maintaining efficacy and still killing the cancer cells. It was also found that cannabidiol worked together with cytotoxic drugs to have what’s called an “additive effect” by inhibiting the transporters that facilitate the removal of cytotoxic drugs from within a cell, therefore allowing the cytotoxic drug to accumulate in cancer cells. Because of this, doses of cytotoxic drugs that were previously ineffective, when applied with cannabidiol, were “sufficient to significantly affect tumor cell viability and proliferation”.

Why does this matter? Cannabidiol has been found to assist in the delivery of anti-cancer drugs to cancer-cells, sparing healthy cells while amplifying the effect of the anti-cancer drugs, therefore reducing the size of the therapeutic dose and reducing negative side effects.