Marijuana might just be a cure for brain cancer, at least that’s what GW Pharmaceuticals in the UK hopes. The company is working on a new treatment using active compounds found in weed, and so far, their results have been promising.

The study looked at a small sample of 21 patients with glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain tumor that typically has a life expectancy of 15 months past diagnosis. In the phase two study, some patients were given a proprietary blend of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), two ingredients found in marijuana. The remaining participants received a placebo.

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Patients that had recurrent GBM tumors who were treated with the medication had an 83 percent one-year survival rate. Those in the placebo group had a significantly lower one-year survival rate at 53 percent.

brain New research indicates marijuana could help treat brain cancer. Pixabay

"The findings from this well-designed controlled study suggest that the addition of a combination of THC and CBD to patients on dose-intensive temozolomide produced relevant improvements in survival compared with placebo and this is a good signal of potential efficacy," Professor Susan Short, PhD,  and lead study author said in a statement.

While rare, GBM is the most common and deadliest type of malignant brain tumor, according to BrainTumor.org. Each year, about two or 3 new diagnoses are made per 100,000 people in the United States and Europe.

GW’s Chief Executive Officer Justin Gover believes this research is a starting point for the company to further the studies of cannabinoids for health purposes.

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"We believe that the signals of efficacy demonstrated in this study further reinforce the potential role of cannabinoids in the field of oncology and provide GW with the prospect of a new and distinct cannabinoid product candidate in the treatment of glioma," Gover said in a statement.

Even though many states are passing laws permitting the use of medical marijuana, it is still a federally illegal substance, which limits research. Currently, cannabis is not approved by the FDA as a legitimate treatment for cancer.  

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