STUDY LOOKS AT CANNABIS' ABILITY TO HELP CHILDRENS TUMOURS
UK research into cannabidiol (CBD) comes after surge in parents administering it to children without medical advice
This has to be one of the most promising studies that I have seen so far in the journey of CBD. Any cancer, tumour, disease or illness is unfair but tumours in children is something that is hard to comprehend.
Heroic British scientist are investigating whether CBD, which is found in cannabis, could be used to shrink brain tumours in children.
The study of the effects of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, has been provoked by the number of parents giving it to children with a brain tumour (as well as for other illnesses) after buying it online.
Prof Richard Grundy, who is leading the study, is from Nottingham University’s children’s brain tumour centre. Prof Grundy has said that there has been a large rise in parents administering CBD without medical advice, hoping that it may help their children.
Firstly I am proud of all of these parents! Your actions highlight CBD, provides results and testimonials, spreads the word and puts very much needed pressure on more research being done on CBD and brain tumours.
So far, no research has been done into how CBD can specifically help children’s brain tumours, but some work has been done looking at how cannabis-based molecules can help adult cancer patients.
Professor Grundy has said; “New ways to treat childhood brain tumours are urgently needed to extend and improve the quality of life in malignant brain tumour patients, so we are excited at the prospect of testing the effect of cannabidiol on brain tumour cells”.
Brain tumours kill more children than any other cancer in the UK. Here are some very scary statistics – Approximately 1800 children (under 18) are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK, of which almost a third are brain and spine related.
This study into CBD and brain tumours in children, is the first of its kind in the world. The researchers will grow cells from different brain tumours in lab conditions, some with the addition of cannabidiol molecules and others without. They will then compare how the presence of tumour cells differs in both samples through a technique called cell staining. This will help them see how many of the cells are dividing and whether any are dying.
Lead researcher Prof Grundy has also said: “We expect the cells – brain tumour and normal brain – grown in our standard conditions to be healthy and actively dividing. We expect that normal brain cells grown in cannabidiol will remain healthy. However, we expect the brain tumour cells grown in cannabidiol to stop growing and die.”
I have recently read many stories and blogs about cancer sufferers that are looking for alternatives to chemo and/or radiotherapy (my brother Toby is facing exactly this decision also). Katie Sheen, of the Astro Brain Tumour Fund, which is co-funding the study, said if it proved to be successful CBD could be a gentler, less toxic way of treating cancer than chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
As mentioned above, there has been a little research into cancer in adult and Dr Wai Liu, a researcher at St George’s University of London, said: “We have performed experiments using CBD in leukaemia and it can deactivate signalling pathways, making cells more responsive to chemotherapy.”
This is interesting to me. There is a great deal of social pressure, especially from the medical world, that the traditional methods of chemotherapy and radiotherapy are simply the best chance of eradicating cancer within the body and I must respect the fact that these methods have saved lives. Not everybody will decide to ONLY take CBD to beat cancer and due to the lack of research about specific cancers, I understand this thinking. But how amazing that we have a research fellow, Dr Wai Liu, telling us that CBD can aid the chemotherapy process.
Dr Liu has also stated that: “All cells need to communicate, and these communications get jammed up, and CBD tries to correct this by restoring them. This ultimately results in these cells being able to undergo cell death.”
“People think that children’s cells are more flexible so there is a possibility that CBD may have a slightly different effect. We will only be able to understand the precise mechanism and value of this treatment when studies like this are done.”
I can’t wait for the full results of this study and others like it. To give us some amazing hope, here is something very inspiring:
Among those supporting the project are the parents of William Frost, a four-year-old who was diagnosed with a ependymoma brain tumour in 2014 and is being treated at the Nottingham centre. William’s father, Steve, said: “We were told halfway through 2016 that nothing more could be done for William. We couldn’t bear to accept the news and decided to look into alternative treatments.
“We started William on a low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet and cannabidiol. Six months later William’s tumour had shrunk by two-thirds. He is slowly improving and attending school part-time.”