Cannabis may have cancer busting properties

September 14, 2004

, Medical News Today

A new study indicates that the chemical in cannabis that makes us stoned, delta-9-tetrahydrocannibol, might also protect us from cancer. According to researchers, delta-9-tetrahydrocannibol is able to halt the spread of gamma herpes viruses. Gamma herpes viruses have been shown to increase one’s chances of developing Kaposis Sarcoma, Burkitts lymphoma and Hodgkins disease.

You can read about this latest study in the journal BMC Medicine. The study was carried out by researchers at the University of South Florida.

Once a person is infected with the Gamma herpes virus, he/she has it for life – it is virtually impossible to get rid of it. The Gamma herpes viruses are completely different from the herpes simplex virus. Gamma herpes viruses lie dormant inside our white blood cells for many years.

Unfortunately, the virus can suddenly become active and start reproducing. As soon as this happens it starts invading other cells, increasing the chances of cancer developing.

The researchers found that delta-9-tetrahydrocannibol stopped the sudden reactivation of gamma herpes viruses.

The researchers found that mice died when the virus became reactivated. However, the mice which had been injected with delta-9-tetrahydrocannibol survived and did not develop cancer.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibol has no effect on the herpes simplex-1 virus, the one associated with cold sores.

This discovery could lead to the development of new cancer busting drugs.

Dr Peter Medveczky said that if a person already has cancer caused by gamma herpes viruses he/she should not start smoking cannabis. The chemical is preventative, not curative. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibol also weakens your immune system. He also added that these are very preliminary results – much more research is needed.

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