The study was published in the Aug. 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research.
A cannabinoid receptor lying on the surface of cells may help suppress colorectal cancer, say U.S. researchers. When the receptor is turned off, tumor growth is switched on. Cannabinoids are compounds related to the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in the cannabis plant.
It’s already known that the receptor, CB1, plays a role in relieving pain and nausea, elevating mood and stimulating appetite by serving as a docking station for the cannabinoid group of signaling molecules. This study suggests that CB1 may offer a new path for cancer prevention or treatment.
In the study of human colorectal tumor specimens, the researchers also found that the drug decitabine can restore CB1 expression.In addition, mice those are prone to developing intestinal tumors and also have functioning CB1 receptors developed fewer and smaller tumors when treated with a drug that mimics a cannabinoid receptor ligand, the researchers found. Ligands are molecules that function by binding to specific receptors.
This therapy may help the cancer research team to found out the caner in early stage.
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Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or more precisely its main isomer (−)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol ((6aR,10aR)-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), is the principal psychoactive constituent (or cannabinoid) of the cannabis plant. First isolated in 1964, in its pure form, by Israeli scientists Raphael Mechoulam, Yechiel Gaoni and colleagues at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, it is a glassy solid when cold, and becomes viscous and sticky if warmed. A pharmaceutical formulation of (−)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, known by its INN dronabinol, is available by prescription in the U.S. and Canada under the brand name Marinol. An aromatic terpenoid, THC has a very low solubility in water, but good solubility in most organic solvents, specifically lipids and alcohols.
Like most pharmacologically-active secondary metabolites of plants, THC in cannabis is assumed to be involved in self-defense, perhaps against herbivores. THC also possesses high UV-B (280–315 nm) absorption properties, which, it has been speculated, could protect the plant from harmful UV radiation exposure.
Tetrahydrocannabinol with double bond isomers and their stereoisomers is one of only three cannabinoids scheduled by Convention on Psychotropic Substances (the other two are dimethylheptylpyran and parahexyl). Note that cannabis as a plant is scheduled by Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (Schedule I and IV).