Have Scientists Found a Way to Make Marijuana Safer for Medical Use?


There is a growing interest in the use of medical marijuana, and more and more studies are being done on the benefits of using marijuana for various conditions, including cancer.  There’s no question that the war on drugs has set back medical marijuana research and cannabinoid research in general by probably decades, but fortunately research is surging ahead at the moment.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia in the UK in conjunction with a team from the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona have discovered that the mood-altering effects of marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, is triggered in the brain by a separate mechanism to some of its other effects.

While research is generally done on plants that have been specifically grown without the active ingredient THC, THC has also been shown to have some interesting medical uses as deduced by the same team involved in the above-mentioned study –

New Research Reveals How Cannabis Compound Could Slow Tumour Growth

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have shown how the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis could reduce tumour growth in cancer patients.

Research published recently reveals the existence of previously unknown signaling platforms which are responsible for the drug’s success in shrinking tumours.

It is hoped that the findings could help develop a synthetic equivalent with anti-cancer properties.

The research was co-led with the Universidad Complutense de Madridin, Spain. The team used samples of human cancer cells to induce tumours in mice. They then targeted the tumours with doses of the cannabis compound THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). They found that two cell receptors in particular were responsible for the drug’s anti-tumour effects.

Dr Peter McCormick, from UEA’s school of Pharmacy, said: “THC, the major active component of marijuana, has anti-cancer properties. This compound is known to act through a specific family of cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors. However, it was unclear which of these receptors were responsible for the anti-tumour effects of THC.  Read more here


There has also been a ton of research done on the use of cannabis oil, and there are still many instances doing further research. While many have reported great results from the use of this oil and other forms of marijuana for a myriad of medical complaints, including Alzheimer’s, Epilepsy, Lyme Disease, Chronic Pain, Rheumatism, Multiple Sclerosis, Anxiety Disorders, Asthma, Diabetes and Cancer, no definitive decision has yet been taken as to the 100% effectiveness of cannabis oil.

You can read more on the various research studies on Cancer Research UK

Scientists are still studying precisely how THC works in the brain as they search to find a way to replicate THC’s benefits without the risk of its side-effects. Previous research in this study indicated that THC’s cognitive effects depend on two different kinds of receptors in the brain, one which is a cannabinoid receptor and one a serotonin receptor. Researchers found that blocking the serotonin receptor in tests on mice appeared to block the memory impairment associated with THC exposure.

According to Dr. Peter McCormick, from UEA’s School of Pharmacy, “: “THC, the major active component of marijuana, has broad medical use – including for pain relief, nausea and anxiety. … There has been a great deal of medical interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms at work in THC, so that the beneficial effects can be harnessed without the side-effects. THC acts through a family of cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors. Our previous research revealed which of these receptors are responsible for the anti-tumour effects of THC. This new research demonstrates how some of the drug’s beneficial effects can be separated from its unwanted side effects.” [Source: University of East Anglia]

These results have shown that THC’s side-effects can be reduced or even eliminated while its beneficial effects can be explored, which could make all the difference in global legislation and recognition of medical marijuana and bears more intense research into this phenomenon.


When Melissa Ethridge was fighting breast cancer, she found that going the reefer route was much more effective than taking 5 or 6 prescriptions a day. Medical marijuana has been proven to reduce chronic pain, nausea, vomiting, induce hunger, soothe inflammation and relieve the stress that comes along with a severe illness. It also seems that taking the synthetic version of THC is not as effective as the real thing. Inhalation is 1 to 4 hours faster in reducing nausea and vomiting than ingesting a pill like Marinol. However, there’s an even better alternative called a vaporizer. By smoking with a vaporizer, you are actually getting more of the benefits without all the harmful stuff! [Source: Know Cancer]

Further Reading on Medical Marijuana Use & Research:


Please note that Little Fighters Cancer Trust is not advocating the use of Medical Marijuana with this article but is merely bringing to your attention the research around Medical Marijuana as we strive to bring you all types of research regarding cancer.


About LFCT

This is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 15 July, 2015, in Blog, Research and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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