Leukemia has a new foe — one reviled by the U.S. DEA, loved as a tool for law enforcement profiteering, and purposely maligned by Big Pharma — cannabis. A new study found that, in combination with traditional chemotherapy, cannabinoids — the active compounds in cannabis — significantly improved treatment of leukemia.
Adding cannabinoid therapy to a traditional cancer treatment regimen meant doctors could lower the dose of chemotherapy while minimizing its oft-debilitating side effects, such as nausea.
Researchers also found the order in which the two medicines were administered proffered different results — more cancer cells die, or experience apoptosis, when cannabinoids follow chemotherapy.
"We have shown for the first time that the order in which cannabinoids and chemotherapy are used is crucial in determining the overall effectiveness of this treatment," explained Dr. Wai Liu of St. George's, University of London, and lead author of the study, quoted by the Daily Mail.
Cannabis has long been touted as efficacious in alleviating nausea and vomiting associated with rigorous chemotherapy treatment — but this study marks a groundbreaking foray into the study of the plant as a potentially curative medicine.
Liu deemed cannabinoids a "very exciting prospect in the oncology."