Scientific evidence: Cannabis and Leukemia

Evidence suggests that cannabis shows potential as a viable treatment option for leukemia. One of the major cannabinoids found in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been shown to induce apoptosis, or death, of leukemia cells (Powles, et al., 2005) (Murison, et al., 1987) (Scott, Shah, Dalgleish & Liu, 2013). Another major cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), has also been shown to significantly decrease tumor burden and increase the death of cancerous leukemia cells (Gallily, et al., 2003) (McKallip, et al., 2006) (Scott, Shah, Dalgleish & Liu, 2013). Evidence has shown that a greater dose of cannabis is associated with a greater apoptosis response (Gallily, et al., 2003). One study found that combining THC treatment with additional established cytotoxic agents could further enhance leukemia cancer cell death (Liu, et al., 2008). These findings have caused researchers to conclude that cannabis “may be a novel and highly selective treatment for leukemia” (McKallip, et al., 2006).

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