Cannabis Extract Kills Cancer Cells, Says New Study

Liz Filmer
12 Mar 2024

A study undertaken by Charles Darwin University (CDU) and RMIT has found that the cannabis extract, PHEC-66 has the potential to induce cell death in melanoma tumors.

Melanoma is a class of skin cancer which in 85% of cases is provoked by overexposure to the sun. According to "Cancer Research", there are over 16,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year in the UK alone.

The peer-reviewed investigation, published in the Cells journal by RMIT’s Dr Ava Bachari, discovered that PHEC-66 binds effectively to the receptors in melanoma cells. This slows down growth and increases damage to the cells. Via this process, the cancerous cells are duped into killing themselves.  

“The damage to the melanoma cell prevents it from dividing into new cells, and instead begins a programmed cell death, also known as apoptosis,” -study co-author and pharmaceutical lecturer Dr Nazim Nassar

This is an expanding zone of critical research because we need to know as much about cannabis extracts as possible, in particular their potential to act as anticancer agents. If we can understand how they react to cancer cells, specifically in the cause of cell death then we can refine treatment strategies to be more precise, responsive and useful.

The research for the study was carried out "in vitro" which means that the cells were studied in the lab. However, the results still add substantial importance to the potential anti-cancer properties of cannabis along with the influence of stimulating CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system.

Several other studies have been published on the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids which have highlighted the prospect of PHEC-66 and other cannabis extracts being used in cancer therapy. 

Investigators will now concentrate on creating an effective delivery strategy for PHEC-66 so that it may move into the pre-clinical trials stage.

More from Soft Secrets:

Cannabis and Cancer

Liz Filmer