Medical cannabis has been a hotly debated topic in the media as of late. Some people claim it’s the cure-all to just about everything, while others believe it isn’t capable of helping with any particular disease or condition. The truth, we suspect, is probably somewhere in the middle, with medical cannabis providing real results for certain conditions but only imaginary or anecdotal results for other things.
Now a pharmaceutical company is testing its own special cannabis formulation, as well as medicinal mushrooms developed by Canadian firm Aion Therapeutic, in the treatment of breast cancer.
The pharmaceutical company, Apollon Formularies PLC, claims these therapies have been effective at killing HER2+ breast cancer cells, a type of cancer that makes up about 20 percent of all breast cancers.
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According to the firm, testing was completed by the independent laboratory BIOENSIS. Their testing showed that medical cannabis formulations were “particularly effective” at killing living HER2+ breast cancer cells directly, while medicinal mushrooms were most effective in stimulating the immune system’s T-cell production, a more indirect approach to killing HER2+ cancer cells.
Combined, however, the two methods appear to work better than they do apart. Apollon claims that nearly 100 percent of the HER2+ cancer cells were killed in the 3D cell cultures the lab worked with when they added both medical cannabis and medicinal mushrooms at the same time.
“Cannabinoids have been seen to exert ‘antitumor’ effects by a number of different means, including killing cancer cells directly as well as inhibiting transformed cell growth and tumour metastasis,” says Apollon chief executive, Stephen Barnhill, said in a statement. “Apollon Jamaica, using results from its proprietary artificial intelligence-based analysis on strain genetics, has cultivated and processed certain of its proprietary medical cannabis products with cancer treatment expressly in mind. We are excited that our formulations have been validated via independent laboratory testing to kill HER2+ breast cancer cells in 3D cell culture through direct cytotoxicity.”
Barnhill continued, “It is our theory that use of a combination of anticancer therapies, especially ones involving separate treatment pathways, may have advantages over single-agent-based strategies as they may allow simultaneous or serial targeting of tumour growth, progression, and/or spreading at different levels with efforts to kill cancer cells.”
Of course, more research will be needed to determine whether medical cannabis and medicinal mushrooms are indeed capable of killing breast cancer cells and whether these treatments work as expected when administered in a clinical trial setting rather than in the lab. And after that, it may still be a difficult process to get breast cancer approved as one of the acceptable medical uses of these treatments on a state-by-state basis, as cannabis is still illegal for most purposes in many parts of the United States.
If this treatment turns out to be as effective as it appears to be in this first laboratory test, however, it could make a world of difference for thousands of cancer patients.
Do you think medical cannabis could be helpful for breast cancer? What about medicinal mushrooms? We can only wait and see what further research finds.