Augusta University researchers have discovered inhalant cannabidiol (CBD) can effectively hinder the growth of lung cancer in mice, offering new hope in the fight against the disease.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality globally, with current treatments still unable to cure metastatic forms of the disease.
The promising findings were revealed in a joint preclinical study conducted by scientists from the Dental College of Georgia, the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, and Medicinal Cannabis of Georgia, LLC. Published in the May 2023 issue of Human Cell, the study was led by Babak Baban, PhD, an immunologist, professor, and one of the founders of Medicinal Cannabis of Georgia.
The research focused on the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, particularly its potential capacity to impede the growth of heterotopic lung cancer when inhaled. The study involved simulating lung cancer in a heterotopic mouse model by implanting cells from a human lung cancer cell line. The mice were then treated with either CBD or a placebo.
Notably, the CBD group showed significant improvements in pathology, including a drastic reduction in tumor size and a decrease of tumor stem cells. Moreover, the development of new blood cells in the tumor, known as tumor angiogenesis, was severely hindered by the CBD treatment.
Unlike typical anti-angiogenesis drugs, inhalant CBD did not produce any detectable side effects or toxicity at the experimental dosage. Therefore, the research supports the potential of inhalant CBD as a viable complementary treatment for lung cancer, with significant benefits.
The research team, including Baban, are excited by their discovery and its potential to offer new therapeutic options for lung cancer patients. Clinical oncologist Girindra Raval, MD, highlighted that CBD’s ability to impede blood vessel formation and cancer cell regeneration could potentially benefit not just newly diagnosed patients, but also those whose cancer has recurred after conventional treatment.
Despite the promising findings, the researchers stressed the need for further studies. Phillip Wang, PhD, co-author of the study and chief scientist at Medicinal Cannabis of Georgia, LLC, noted that while they are excited by the results, more extensive research on toxicology and pharmacokinetics is required.
Nevertheless, the preclinical study brings renewed optimism and further reinforces the medical potential of CBD, a non-intoxicating component of cannabis, in the battle against cancer.